Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-24 "AC/DC MicroGrids and their interactions - Renewable energy sources and electric vehicles for Smart Cities"

This job offer has expired

    Université Gustave Eiffel
    EngineeringControl engineering
    EngineeringElectrical engineering
    EngineeringSystems engineering
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Marne-La-Vallée
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND



The electrical power system is currently undergoing a dramatic change from centralized generation to distributed generation. Most of these distributed/renewable-energy generators comprise variable-frequency Alternative Current (AC) sources, high-frequency AC sources, or Direct Current (DC) sources, and hence, they need power converters to interface with the public-utility grid that is currently in AC. The distributed generation is in addition often located in the low or medium voltage grids, who were not designed to integrate generation. Furthermore, most storage systems like batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells and modern loads like electric vehicles, computers, tablets and cell phones are in DC. MicroGrids, and in particular mixed AC/DC MicroGrids, are an interesting solution for the integration of these distributed/renewable sources, storage systems and modern loads. It is then expected in the future to see the rise of such MicroGrids, possibly with island capabilities (capable of being independent from main grid). For this reason, it is capital to study the interaction of such DC and AC MicroGrids, in particular the possibility of using the DC one to provide support (ancillary services) to the AC one.

Another important point comes from the fact that the increase of power converters, and the interaction with DC MicroGrids, will continuously reduce the amount of inertia, ultimately leading to MicroGrids only composed of power electronics, and as a consequence, inertia-less. One of the most important challenges for systems with small amount of inertia like islanded MicroGrids is that they are more sensitive to system disturbances due to less stored energy to compensate energy imbalances and to slow the rate of change in frequency. In small power systems, individual generators tend to be large in comparison with the system size and the electricity demand. A loss of a generation unit is hence likely to result in a large percentage of imbalance in the power system. This all means that for example in the event of a sudden generator malfunction, the power system frequency will fall very quickly and there is a high likelihood of a power system black out.

The proposed work means to investigate how to use power inverters, and in particular a DC MicroGrid, to provide inertia emulation and to help stabilizing the reduced inertia AC MicroGrid. This is a strategic topic for future distribution grids, and will allow their development aiming to mitigate the effect of future increase of DC elements as renewables, electric vehicles and storage systems like batteries and supercapacitors.

This migration from AC to DC can not be made in only one step, and for this reason this thesis aims at studying a hybrid AC/DC grid, where DC is used to interconnect part of the elements, in particular those that are inherently DC and/or those that can be either, like most renewable energy sources, storage units like batteries supercapacitors and fuel cells, and loads like charging stations for electric vehicles, illumination and heating. This DC grid can then provide electricity for the AC grid in order to avoid buying energy from the main AC distribution grid. Finally, this DC grid is also used to provide ancillary services like voltage and frequency inertia stability to the main AC grid, acting as a Distribution Flexible Alternative Current Transmission System (D-FACTS).

The proposed work means to investigate distributed control systems for AC and DC grids to integrate power systems in a neighborhood scale, strongly based on distributed generation by renewables, self-consumption and storage. To assure system’s stable operation it is necessary to implement a broad control strategy involving different time scales, referring to a hierarchical control structure, ranging from milliseconds to several seconds or even minutes.

The work should study topics as:

  • Distributed control for power systems and MicroGrids in particular
  • Control strategies for SmartGrids – Nonlinear, Distributed, Communicating, Stochastic, Predictive…
  • Interaction of AC and DC dynamics
  • Means to provide ancillary services with and without storage
  • Stability analysis of power networks

Thesis objectives:

The goal of this thesis is to contribute to the development of decentralized embedded control for Hybrid AC/DC MicroGrids. The main objectives are to propose new control algorithms to stabilize the networks, allowing large scale penetration of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles in a neighborhood scale, possibly integrating predictions like weather forecast, human behavior and distributed renewables productions.

The student will work on control techniques for interconnected systems in different layers with distinct time scales. The controllers will most likely be based on nonlinear control theory for lower layers and AC and DC dynamics’ analysis, while using predictive control algorithms to integrate weather, production and consumption forecasts, and/or learning strategies.

More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel.
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory.
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.

  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent
    Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Specific Requirements

  • A solid background in mathematics is obligatory. Knowledge in either automatic control or electrical systems will be much appreciated.
  • This thesis will be in cosupervision (cotutelle) with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) (Germany).

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
5, Boulevard Descartes

EURAXESS offer ID: 717360


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