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[UK] PhD Scholarships in Electrical Engineering at Durham University

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[UK] PhD Scholarships in Electrical Engineering at Durham University


Commercial pressures towards better utilisation of power networks and increased penetration of distributed generation are likely to reduce power system security margins leading to a higher probability of blackouts. This project will investigate an idea of preventing an imminent wide-area blackout by intentional splitting of a system into islands with as best as possible generation/demand balance. Such splitting will reduce the total amount of load that would have been lost otherwise, and will make restoring the supply easier.

This interdisciplinary engineering- mathematical project will gather power system engineers from Durham University, Operational Research and Optimization experts from The University of Edinburgh, and graph theoreticians from the University of Southampton. The project is funded by Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and is supported by the National Grid and Psymetrix Ltd.

PhD studentship: When to island?
Preventive islanding is a last-resort action, which should be undertaken only when usual means of preventing a blackout, such as automatic load shedding, emergency generation tripping, etc., have failed and a blackout is imminent. Hence, the aim of this part of the research will be to establish conditions under which preventive network splitting should be applied. Usually, blackouts are preceded by significant voltage, power and frequency oscillations, manifested as severe voltage reductions and unusual power flows. The emphasis will be on fast multi-facet analysis, incorporating transient and steady-state stability analysis, voltage stability analysis and other security assessment tools.

Necessary background
You should possess First Class Degree in engineering (preferably electrical engineering) or mathematics. Minimum requirement is the Upper Second Class honours degree or equivalent.

Funding for Home/EU students:

EPSRC will cover your tuition fees (GBP 3,390 in 2009/10) and you will be paid a stipend to cover your living expenses (GBP 13,290 in 2009/10, tax-free).

Funding for Overseas (non-EU) students:

If you are coming from outside the EU, then you will receive the same funding as EU students (i.e. covering fees at Home/EU level and stipend, please see above), but you will have to pay the PhD tuition fee at a higher Overseas level (GBP 14,865 in 2009/10). This means that you will have to cover the difference between Overseas and Home/EU fees from other sources. We are sorry, but we cannot offer any further financial assistance.

Professor Janusz Bialek,
Email: Janusz.Bialek@durham.ac.uk,
Tel +44 (0) 191 3342505

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