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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K006428/1
Title: DC Networks with DC/DC Converters for Integration of Large Renewable Sources
Principal Investigator: Jovcic, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Ahmed, Dr KH Holliday, Dr D Williams, Professor B W
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Alstom Group
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 31 May 2013 Ends: 16 December 2016 Value (£): 734,786
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Aug 2012 NSFC Smart Grids Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project studies various aspects of integration of large renewable power parks with DC networks which include DC/DC converters.

UK and China alike have enormous wind power potential which theoretically can exceed total national energy demand. Much of this energy is located offshore or in remote sites like North Scotland and North West China which have no electrical grid or have very weak grid infrastructure. These factors together with wind energy intermittency cause integration challenges, demand new approaches in developing transmission/collection grids and call for substantial use of power electronics.

There is large number of point to point High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) links worldwide and HVDC has proven beneficial for interconnecting wind energy. Nevertheless DC transmission has not evolved into widespread DC grids because of a range of technical challenges such as difficulties with DC voltage stepping and DC fault isolation. It is expected that DC grids will have same security level as AC systems, but all grid functions, topologies, operation and control will be different and need substantial further studies.

The DC networks may not adopt AC grid topologies because of high costs and losses associated with DC/DC voltage stepping and DC fault isolation components. However unlike AC transformers, the DC/DC converters will be highly controllable and flexible since they will be based on power electronics. This controllability enables DC/DC electronic units to take numerous other functions like controllable voltage stepping, circuit breaker and a power regulator in a single component. In this project we study the development of DC grids exploring the power electronics DC/DC components. This project will investigate development of DC grids by considering the essential requirements (AC systems experience) like security, stability, reserve, fault responses loss minimization. To meet these requirements we explore in depth power electronics DC/DC components and consider also semiconductor-based DC CB and mechanical DC CB.

The main aims of this project are:

1. To study integration technologies and control strategies of large scale renewable power parks with DC networks incorporating DC/DC converters,

2. To study key technologies required for DC grids including a multifunctional and multiterminal electronic DC/DC substation (power electronics unit connecting multiple DC lines),

3. To investigate meshed and hybrid DC grid topologies, their security and interface with national AC grids,

4. To develop new wind generator topologies, converters and controls suitable for connecting to DC grids,

5. To strengthen existing and build new lasting collaborative links between UK and China institutions.

The offshore DC grid is recognized as being highly important for UK energy sector. The interconnections with EU grid will increase security of electricity supply, reduce the spinning reserve concerns with wind energy and provide access points for offshore renewable sources. The offshore wind power in round 3 program has the potential to supply significant portion of the UK energy needs and thus to reduce greenhouse emissions and avoid building of new Nuclear power plants. It is projected that energy for transport and heating will be more dependent on the electricity grid, demanding strengthening of transmission grid and only offshore DC grid can meet these requirements in short-medium time frame. In China, there is now large number of LCC (Line Commutated Converter) HVDC lines operating solely as point-to-point links and new lines are planned for connecting large wind resources in north regions and offshore. There would be significant performance/operational and cost benefit if multiple wind parks could be tapped along these DC lines or if DC lines could be interconnected on the DC side

The main beneficiaries of this research include high power converter manufacturers, grid operators and renewable energy developers.
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