CINELDI announces PhD and Postdoc positions at NTNU, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Application deadline June 15, 2017.

The PhDs/Postdocs will be working in a cross-disciplinary team, covering a broad set of challenges in modernising the distribution grid.

  • IE-073-2017
    Post Doctor position in CINELDI on Modelling of Interactions and Interdependencies in Complex Systems of Power Grid and ICT Systems
  • IE-072-2017
    PhD Research Fellowship position in CINELDI on 5G for Low-Latency, Secure, and Dependable Communication Services for Fault Handling in Micro Grids
  • IE-071-2017
    PhD Research Fellowhip position in CINELDI on Self-Healing and Autonomous Smart Grid Operation
  • IE-063-2017
    PhD Research Fellowship position in CINELDI on Development of risk indicators, reliability and vulnerability models for the combined power and ICT system

In total, 2 PostDocs and 9 PhD fellowships are defined in CINELDI in the first research phase. The fellowships are as described in the following.

Research positions


PostDoc Modelling of Interactions and Interdependencies in Complex Systems of Power Grid and ICT Systems (IE-073-2017)

The digitalization of the power grid implies a new reality where the traditional power system and distributed ICT system converge into a complex system of systems. For example, a system consisting of a power grid system, communication system, computing and storage facilities, advanced control, management and service providing functions. Interactions and interdependencies between these systems become stronger. At the same time the consistent design and management are weakened as they may be owned and operated by different parties (e.g., power grid operator and telecom operator).

The challenge is to avoid introducing new risks and vulnerabilities with respect to providing uninterrupted power electricity supply, while utilising these new possibilities to achieve a flexible and sustainable distribution system. The objective is to capture the abovementioned interactions and interdependencies in quantifiable models, which can be applied to assess alternative robust and stable communication system solutions that enable protection and automation in distribution system and ensure a reliable power electricity supply.

The position requires a PhD degree in communication technology and services or related areas. Knowledge of power system protection and automation will be required, so the candidate needs to have strong willingness to strengthen his/her background within this field if not already familiar with it. Knowledge of power systems and security of electricity supply is an advantage.

The position will be affiliated with CINELDI and the NTNU QUAM lab in Trondheim. The appointment is for a term of 2 years.

Formal requirements: We seek highly motivated and excellent candidates with a PhD and experience in the research field as defined for the position (see list above). We will prioritize candidates with strong publication record, with publications in top level conferences and journals.

We will prioritize candidates with excellent communication skills - written and oral, and with ability to work independently, as well as in a team.

For more information contact: Prof. Bjarne Helvik, NTNU Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering


PostDoc Modelling transition strategies towards smart distribution grids

The objective of the post doc is to develop a modelling framework for studying transition to the future smart distribution grid. Based on cooperation with other WPs in CINELDI, identified drivers, barriers, and enablers are considered together with factors such technologies, life times, the role of the DSOs, and interplay with TSOs and grid users. Techno-economic models will be developed to support the analysis of investments in new capacity, technology choice in the long run and resulting effects on operations and security of electricity supply. The models will be used to support analysis of transition pathways.

Research questions:

  • Develop stochastic techno-economic optimization models for long term analysis of transition pathways and asset management
  • The models will include both long-term uncertainty (in terms of capacity need, demand trends, price trends, interaction with other systems) as well as short-term uncertainty (intermittent and distributed production, load, rare events).
  • The models will include consideration of how the investment in assets are affected by the different player's business models and market design.

Methodology: Stochastic Optimization techniques, power markets, energy economics.

Formal requirements: PhD degree in operations research required. Formal competence in economics is positive. Background from energy markets or energy systems is positive.

For more information contact: Not active


PhD Development of risk indicators, reliability and vulnerability models for the combined power and ICT system (IE-063-2017)

The increasing uncertainties in the future distribution system call for a high level, top down approach to be applied by the DSOs in order to assess the risks. At the same time, new components and technologies will provide new information for enhanced accuracy in the risk models, and new possibilities will be provided by automation, self-healing and islanding of microgrids in interplay with the distribution system. To control the effect of interdependencies and new threats and vulnerabilities on the uninterrupted power supply, methods to monitor and manage the risks are needed. This candidate will work with development of indicators for continuous management of risks and vulnerabilities in future smart distribution grids, taking the large number of uncertainties into account in the decision making. In this respect, interdependencies between the power distribution system and the ICT solutions with respect to reliability, vulnerability, cyber security, and robust communication solutions, are expected to be of high importance.

Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree with specialization within reliability and vulnerability, power systems or smartgrids. The PhD will require knowledge within both Electric Power Engineering and Telematics, so the candidate needs to have strong willingness to strengthen his/her background where necessary.

We will prioritize candidates based on the following criteria: Excellent communication skills - written and oral.Ability to work independently, as well as in team.

For more information contact: Prof. II Gerd Kjølle, NTNU Department of Electric Power Engineering


PhD Self-Healing and Autonomous Smart Grid Operation (IE-071-2017)

The objective of the PhD position Self-healing and autonomous smart grid operation is to develop new principles for operation, given widely deployed new controllable power devices and sensors, advanced IT-solutions for control, fast system reconfiguration, machine learning for predictions, and interconnection of devices by low-latency, reliable and secure communication services. This provides new opportunities for self-healing and automation.

A conceptual, modelling and optimization approach will be taken to obtain real-time / online optimal (at least feasible and safe) solutions under strict time constraints, and to conduct quantifiable studies of the trade-off between different operation procedures and algorithms.

The position will be affiliated with CINELDI and the NTNU QUAM lab in Trondheim.

The appointment is for a term of 3 years without teaching assistance and up to 4 years including 25% of teaching assistance.

Formal requirements: We seek highly motivated and excellent candidates with a Master of Science degree (or have submitted their master thesis) in Communication Technology, Control Engineering, or a related discipline. Knowledge of modelling, optimization, control theory, power system dynamics, is an advantage.

We will prioritize candidates with excellent communication skills - written and oral, and with ability to work independently, as well as in a team.

For more information contact: Prof. Poul Heegaard, NTNU Department of Information Security and Communication Technology


PhD Distributed and centralized control to support smart grid operation with high quality in a cost-efficient way

The objective is to develop principles for operation of the future SmartGrid distribution grid, being a merger between the power grid, and information and communication technologies for control. Future power grids will have high flexibility and controllability, which requires intensive use of ICT based control. The research will be directed towards finding the techno, economic, and operational best control and management structure. Both the physical platform and the logical structure should be included. An important condition is that the (sub)systems of the different market actors, e.g. distribution companies, households, power producers, brokers, will form a digital ecosystem with an integrated information and communication system, supporting real-time, reliable, and secure smart grid operation. The candidate will focus on information and communication systems and services which will be required to meet the new challenges in the power grid, and specifically on modelling framework which will enable to assess different control hierarchies, e.g. trade-off between distributed and centralised advanced control functionality.

Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in Communication technology and services or similar, and knowledge of modelling, optimization, control theory or power engineering is a plus.

For more information contact: Not active


PhD Distributed and hierarchical dynamic state estimation for smart distribution grids

Accurate information about system state and operational margins is a prerequisite for intelligent applications for system wide control and exchange of system services in the future power system. Increased observability between distribution and transmission system levels is important to secure a robust power system, by utilizing flexible resources in system services on different voltage levels. The relevant information will differ depending on what level of the power system is considered; Distribution System Operators (DSOs) want detailed knowledge of the state of their distribution system, while the Transmission System Operator (TSO) is mainly interested in aggregated data representing the state of the transmission system for a wider geographical area – as well as opportunities for exploiting operational flexibility at lower levels.

The research will focus on

  • the design of state estimators for different levels of the power system,
  • the accumulation and filtering of information to address the requirements at different system levels,
  • the use of novel sensors, such as information about load and generation in the distribution grid (AMI) and (micro-)PMUs, to increase observability at different system levels, including sensor location for improved observability.

Formal requirements: MSc in Control Engineering or a related discipline, with a solid knowledge of state estimation. Knowledge of power systems dynamics and operation is desired.

For more information contact: Not active


PhD Techno-economic optimization for analysing consumer flexibility and related market structures

The main objective of the PhD project is to develop models, concepts and solutions for utilization of customer flexibility in the energy system. This project will study business models, new market design, services and products to provide for customer flexibility in congestion management in both distribution and transmission grid. Mechanisms for exchange of flexibility should be designed to support customer access to markets and efficient resource utilization. This includes realization of balancing services and flexibility services as an alternative to grid reinforcement, minimizing grid asset investments and maintenance costs. In order to do this, the project includes analysis of market design, contracts for cooperation and the different actors business models.

Research questions:

  • Different market structures for trading flexibility between consumers, DSO and TSO will be studied in order to investigate how to achieve efficient resource utilization.
  • Next, we will investigate how the different player's business models are affected and what kind of contracts or tariffs should be designed to support interactions.
  • Finally, decision support models will be developed for the analysis of markets, contracts and cooperation

Methodology: Stochastic Optimization techniques, power markets, energy economics.

Formal requirements: Master degree in operations research required. Formal competence in economics is positive.

For more information contact: Not active


PhD 5G for Low-Latency, Secure, and Dependable Communication Services for Fault Handling in Micro Grids (IE-072-2017)

The protection schemes of micro grids, considering bi-directional power flow, conditional islanding, and complex fault situations, require a low-latency, secure and robust communication system. The protection schemes and the corresponding communication services must jointly adapt to the available infrastructure. This will necessitate added functionality to preserve quality and integrity of configuration, management, control and measurements.

The objective of this PhD (5G for low-latency, secure, and dependable communication services for fault handling in micro grids) is to develop an architecture and a set of communication services that can support protection schemes for micro grids, and to investigate the potential in 5G mobile communication (such as usage of the "network slicing" concept) to provide low-latency, secure, and dependable communication services.

The position will be affiliated with CINELDI and the NTNU QUAM lab in Trondheim.

The appointment is for a term of 3 years without teaching assistance and up to 4 years including 25% of teaching assistance.

Formal requirements: We seek highly motivated and excellent candidates with a Master of Science degree (or have submitted their master thesis) in Communication Technology and Services or similar. The PhD will also require knowledge of power engineering and specifically protection, so the candidate needs to have strong willingness to strengthen his/her background in protection related topics.

We will prioritize candidates with excellent communication skills - written and oral, and with ability to work independently, as well as in a team.

For more information contact: Prof. Poul Heegaard, NTNU Department of Information Security and Communication Technology


PhD Smart Power Control in Microgrids with Modern Power Converters

Intelligent power flow in microgrids is enabled by power electronics and their control. Ancillary services to the main grid include active and reactive power compensation, filtering of harmonics, and virtual inertia and impedance. Recent advances in power electronics include new topologies, new control schemes and new components based on wide bandgap semiconductors, which will increase the bandwidth of the control systems. The research should take advantage of this development. The PhD-student will preferably work on and develop new methods for virtual impedance control of DC microgrids with supercapacitor energy storage, and validate the methods experimentally. The student may also work on development of methods for active filtering and/or other ancillary services based on instantaneous power theory and/or theory of virtual synchronous machines.

Formal requirements: Primary background in electrical power engineering, with a master's thesis in power electronics, and strong interest/knowledge of control theory.

For more information contact: Not active


PhD The value of buildings' energy flexibility in the power market

The objective of this PhD will be to develop a methodology for quantification of energy flexibility of Zero Emission Neighborhoods (ZEN) in smart distribution grids. The candidate will investigate electricity market mechanisms to value ZEN development in the local grid and the power market. The developed models should capture the optimal operation of ZEN in a power system with high penetration of renewable energy sources. This will be done in a cooperation between the FMEs ZEN and CINELDI, based on new model developments or existing prototypes.

Research questions:

  • How can the optimal operation of flexible resources within a ZEN environment influence the power market, grid bottlenecks and welfare distribution among stakeholders?
  • What will be the efficient power market setting to value ZEN development?
  • What are consequences measured with indicators like, emissions, costs, grid constraints, energy consumption and generation?

Methodology: Optimization techniques, power markets, energy economics.

Formal requirements: Master of Science degree, background in electrical power engineering, energy economics, optimization.

The PhD will work will be done in cooperation with the FME ZEN (Zero Emission Neighbourhoods).

For more information contact: Not active


PhD Understanding mechanisms and incentives for motivating user flexibility

This PhD will work to understand the role of electricity in the everyday lifes and practices of ordinary households. The project will have a particular focus on how incentives and mechanisms meant to motivate what is often called "user flexibility" is interpreted, understood and received amongst ordinary people.

In the years ahead of us, the energy system is expected to change. Transitions towards a low carbon energy system will be comprehensive and demanding, requiring substantial public support. One important contribution from science and technology studies is to highlight the role of citizens and public engagement. Until recently, energy users have typically been considered as customers and as passive market actors. Further on, current policies targeted towards a reduction of energy consumption have often had a narrow view of the user as a consumer, making conscious rational choices on the energy market from a set of pre-defined options. Moreover, energy users have been commonly regarded as recipients of technologies in the margins of a rather centralized system. In the energy system of the future, people, are however, expected to take on more active role; as consumer, citizens and flexibility providers. Another aspect of this is an increasing integration of ICT technologies in the energy system, combined with new modes of intermittent electricity production (e.g wind, solar). Another aspect is the integration of electric vehicles. All of this means that the conentional electricity grids are facing new challenges. These challenges are particularly pertinent in so-called "peaks", spikes of electricity consumption at particular times of the day, week, month or year. The PhD will study mechanisms and incentives meant to make consumption more flexible, i.e. less locked into such patterns.

  • How do such mechanisms affect daily practices and routines of ordinary householders?
  • Which kinds of electricity consumption can easily be shifted to other times, and which cannot?
  • What is the relationship between wider societal rhythms and electricity consumption, and how should incentives and mechanisms be shaped in order to be useful and effective in the everyday lifes of ordinary households?
  • Which are the best ways to engage householders if the goal is to create more flexibility and active participation in the energy system?

Formal requirements: Master degree in social sciences e.g. science and technology studies (STS), sociology or similar. Interest in energy issues, experience in qualitative research methods.

The PhD will work closely with other projects on smart grids and energy consumption at the department, and FME CenSES.

For more information contact: Not active