Research engineer position for the Horizon Europe project InterOPERA PhD project: DC-side HVDC interoperability

Posted 1 month ago

SuperGrid Institute brings together 180 employees of 28 different nationalities who work together within a dynamic environment in the city of Lyon. As an independent research and innovation centre, we are dedicated to developing technologies for the future power transmission system, the “SuperGrid”, including HVDC & MVDC technologies.

As a multi-disciplinary research centre with advanced simulation capabilities & multiple test platforms, including numerous associated laboratories, SuperGrid Institute uses its comprehensive expertise to provide a wide range of services and solutions to support our customers in developing power systems, equipment, and components. We specialize in system architecture and work on ensuring network security and stability while allowing for the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources. Find out more by visiting our website: www.supergrid-institute.com

General Context

Integration of large amount of renewable energy sources (RES) (e.g., offshore wind, PV) and energy market integration are two of the main drivers for the future development of the pan-European power grid. This will require a reinforcement of the transmission grid to make it able to transport large amount of power over long distances from generation areas to load areas. Extended High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) grids, in Point to point or Multi-Terminal (MTDC) configuration covering large areas and distances, are considered to be the preferable solution for the reinforcement of the grid. Indeed, it has been understood that MTDC grids based on voltage source converter (VSC) technology are a key development for harnessing the offshore wind production potential of the North Seas. Those systems will be evolving from simple point to point and radial structures to complex meshed ones.

Existing HVDC projects are turnkey systems, mostly point-to-point links, provided by a single manufacturer. This set-up considerably limits the extension of point-to-point links to large MTDC systems. To facilitate such projects, HVDC systems must be broken down into sub-systems that can be delivered by different vendors and must then be interoperable. Examples of such sub-systems are the AC/DC converter station, the DC switching station, and the HVDC grid control system.

Position Context

Achieving multi-vendor multi-terminal HVDC interoperability is identified as a key target by the European Commission. The Horizon Europe InterOPERA project proposal is a unique initiative to define and validate the appropriate HVDC Interoperability frameworks, through the development of a real-time Demonstrator. It encompasses functional design and specification frameworks, control and protection subsystems integration test frameworks, cooperation frameworks, procurement frameworks. The Demonstrator development consists of the specification, engineering development and HIL (Hardware-In-the-Loop) integration test of the full control system of a multi-terminal HVDC grid with sub-systems provided by at least three HVDC manufacturers.  This is a four-year project gathering 21 partners (Transmission System Operators, Off-Shore Wind developpers, HVDC converter manufacturers, Off-shore wind turbine manufacturers, …).

Within the InterOPERA project, SuperGrid Institute will lead the development of a generic functional framework, for multiterminal multivendor HVDC systems. The objective of the functional design framework is the following: A/ to define functional split and interface between the various subsystems (some control and protection functions belong to the DC grid level and others belong to converter station level or to other components), B/ to express functional requirements and parameter ranges for each subsystem, with the aim to maximise interoperability (plug and play property) while not limiting innovation potential by subsystem providers. The interoperability subject relates to control and protection functions organization, at system level, subsystem level, component level. During the first two years of the project, SuperGrid will lead Task 2.1 – Basic functional requirements for multi-vendor HVDC Grid Systems and Subsystems. During the last two years of the project, SuperGrid will contribute to Task 2.3 – Connection network code recommendations for multi-vendor multi-terminal HVDC systems.

To support this work SuperGrid Institute plans to hire a research engineer who will carry out a PhD project related to DC-side interoperability of multivendor multiterminal HVDC grids. The PhD project will especially address research issues that couldn’t be handled by the main operational resources of InterOPERA project Task2.1, due to demonstrator-focused priorities, but remain important to be addressed before the conclusion of the InterOPERA project. Such research issues raised by Task2.1 will be processed through the PhD project, to contribute to Task2.3 and to project final conclusions.

 

PhD topic description

Scientific context:

In turnkey HVDC project, a single HVDC converter manufacturer fully handles DC grid stability controls. There is no DC-side interoperability issues. DC grid stability control principles remain vendor specific and confidential.

Achieving multi-vendor HVDC grid interoperability will lead to frame out DC grid stability control principles and options.

Similarly to AC grid frequency stability control, DC grid voltage stability control will come as a combination of inertial response, primary voltage control, secondary voltage control and possibly other stabilizing controls. The inherent inertia in VSC-HVDC systems is capacitive and its amount is drastically reduced compared to AC grid rotating inertia.

According to system characteristics, not only the amount of physical capacitance differs (cable-based system provide more capacitance that overhead lines), but inductive components may also interfere with DC voltage stability control (eg: DC reactors associated with DC-breakers, to enable selective fault-clearing strategies).

Therefore, the coordination of converter control responses (synthetic inertia, voltage primary controls, other type of stabilizing controls), is key to DC-side interoperability. It is anticipated that VSC-MMC converters shall be used to strengthen capacitive inertia, as would do both 2-levels VSC converters. In addition, it may be necessary to prevent or damp DC-oscillatory behavior when large DC reactors are used.

This PhD may address this background context, as well as complementary scientific issues that would be raised in the course of the InterOPERA project.

Scientific work:

Work objectives and content will be defined according to Task2.1 inputs and research issues that are relevant to select for the PhD project, considering InterOPERA project aim.

Research work will call for:

  • Bibliography and state of the art analysis
  • Selection of scientific locks and research issues
  • Electro-Magnetic-Transient (EMT) modelling of the HVDC system with its protection and controls,
  • Theoretical approach of DC-side stability issues, based on simplified models,
  • Formalization of DC-side control framework concepts and options
  • Assessment of DC-side control framework options, also taking AC-side constraints into account
  • Key findings validation, possibly on Supergrid HIL Simulation Platform

References

[1] Kosei SHINODA: Virtual Capacitor Control for Stability Improvement of HVDC System Comprising DC Reactors

The 15th IET international conference on AC and DC Power Transmission, ACDC2019 Coventry, UK February 5-7, 2019

[2] Bruno LUSCAN, William LEON GARCIA: Would HVDC interoperability benefit from the provision of DC-side   synthetic inertia by converters? Accessible at: https://www.hvdccentre.com/library-category/operators-forum-2022/

Candidate Profile

Engineering degree (Master 2)

Background required in Electrical engineering with good knowledge in power system analysis and control

  • Power System
  • Power Electronics
  • Control Engineering

Sens of deduction, ability to work within a research team

Written and oral communication in English

The application must be sent at the following address : abdelkrim.benchaib@supergrid-institute.com and has to include the job title, candidate name, CV and the most recent marks.

SuperGrid Institute is an equal opportunities employer. We respect and value the diversity of our employees, their backgrounds and their professional experience. We believe in equality and take affirmative action to ensure that discrimination has no place in our recruitment process nor our company.

Job Features

Contract TypeCDD
Duration36 months
Start DateAvril 2023
Qualification requiredMaster 2

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