PhD Advanced MV Power Electronics for Large-Scale Green Hydrogen Production
Updated: 25 Sep 2021
Energy systems are facing a great challenge to meet strict CO2 reduction targets. This goes hand in hand with the need to integrate massive amounts of renewable energy into the electrical power grid. However, the inherent stochastic and intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, make it increasingly difficult to balance electricity production and demand. To tackle these issues, the surplus electrical power from renewable energy sources can be converted to green hydrogen via water electrolysis. This can serve as a large-scale long-term (seasonal) energy storage method, facilitates stabilizing the future power grid with 100% penetration of renewable energy, and provides large industrial clusters with green hydrogen.
Such large-scale green hydrogen production, along with supplying off-shore wind production, needs to be smoothly integrated into the power system via advanced power conversion and grid technologies. To make green hydrogen technology more competitive, the Levelized Cost of Hydrogen (LCOH) must be reduced by a factor of 3~4. As one of the critical parts of a water electrolysis plant, the power electronic converters and the grid integration contribute to approximately 15%~20% of the total costs of the whole water electrolysis system for both alkaline and proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis technologies. Moreover, as the major power processor, the power electronic converters also have a great impact on the overall energy efficiency, especially considering the varying renewable sources as the power supply. Therefore, power electronics is a non-trivial cost-reduction driver for large-scale green hydrogen production through water electrolysis and for seamless grid integration.
In order to scale up the green hydrogen production, more efficient power conversion is required at a higher power rating and higher voltage level. Compared with state-of-the-art low-voltage (below 1 kV) power electronic technologies, the emerging medium voltage (MV) power electronics can perform significantly higher power conversion at improved efficiency, reduced volume, and reduced cost, thus enabling green hydrogen production via water electrolysis at multi GW level. However, to significantly reduce the LCOH and to make green hydrogen more competitive, more innovation needs to further reduce the capital cost (CAPEX) and operational cost (OPEX) of the power conversion system for water electrolysis.
The overall objective of this proposal is to explore the new circuits and the design rules to drive a significant cost-down of the medium voltage power electronics converter systems for large-scale hydrogen production through water electrolysis. The more specific objectives are given below:
- Explore new topologies for MV power electronics converters, resulting in high efficiency and cost reduction for large-scale water electrolysis.
- Explore new design rules to meet dielectric and galvanic isolation requirements and the flexibility required from the grid side and electrolyser side.
- Propose novel control options to fulfill the modularized control functionality, and to meet steady-state and dynamic control performance in large-scale water electrolysis.
The expected results of the PhD project will be as follows
- Novel cost-effective topologies for MV power electronics converters with modularity, scalability, and high efficiency.
- New optimization algorithm to fully explore the design space of MV power electronics converters and to identify the optimal design options.
- Novel modularized control of MV power electronics.
- Down-scaled experimental prototype for validation.
We are looking for a candidate who meets the following requirements:
- You are a talented and enthusiastic young researcher.
- You have an MSc degree in electrical engineering or any other relevant program.
- You have theoretical and applied knowledge of power electronics
- You have hands-on experimental experience in high-power circuit design and implementation. Experience with MV power converters is a big plus.
- You have good communicative skills, and the attitude to partake successfully in the work of a research team.
- You are creative and ambitious, hard-working, and persistent.
- You have a good command of the English language (Spoken and Written).
- Challenging job in a highly motivated team at a dynamic and ambitious university and a stimulating internationally renowned research environment.
- You will be part of a highly profiled multidisciplinary collaboration where the expertise of a variety of disciplines comes together.
- Full-time temporary appointment for 4 years.
- A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
- Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
- An extensive package of fringe benefits (e.g. excellent technical infrastructure).
- Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.
- The TU/e offers opportunities for personal development. We do this by offering every PhD candidate a series of courses that are part of the PROOF program as an excellent addition to your scientific education.
- Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called '30% facility', which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
The TU/e is located in one of the smartest regions of the world and part of the European technology hotspot 'Brainport Eindhoven'; well-known because of many high-tech industries and start-ups. A place to be for talented scientists!
38 hours per week
De Rondom 70