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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L016141/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Power Networks at The University of Manchester
Principal Investigator: Wood, Dr FR
Other Investigators:
Karvonen, Dr A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Alstom Group Arup Group Ltd Balfour Beatty Plc
EA Technology Electricity North West ITM Power Plc
Manchester City Council National Grid Rail Safety & Standards Board
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) Siemens UK Power Networks
Western Power Distribution WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd UK
Department: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 31 March 2026 Value (£): 4,031,041
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel L Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form

Rapid transformation of Power Networks is only possible if industry can recruit highly trained individuals with the skills to engage in R&D that will drive innovation. The EPSRC CDT in Power Networks at the University of Manchester will educate and train high quality PhD students with the technical, scientific, managerial and personal skills needed by the Power Networks sector. Prof. Peter Crossley, whose experience includes leadership of the Joule Centre, will lead the CDT.

This CDT is multidisciplinary with PhD students located in the Faculties of Engineering & Physical Science and Humanities. All students will first register on a "Power Networks" Postgraduate Diploma; when successfully completed, students will transfer to a PhD degree and their research will be undertaken in one or more Schools within these Faculties. During their PhD studies, students will also be required to expand their knowledge in topics related to the management, design and operation of power networks. Using the support of our industrial partners, students will engage in policy debates, deliver research presentations, undertake outreach activities and further their career development via internships.

The CDT will deliver world class research and training, focused on the UK's need to transform conventional power networks into flexible smart grids that reliably, efficiently and economically transport low-carbon electrical energy from generators to consumers. Specific areas of research are:

- Electrical power network design, operation and management

The rapidly increasing need to integrate renewable energy into power networks poses numerous challenges, particularly cyclical and stochastic intermittency. This is further complicated by future proof buildings, decarbonisation of heat and transport, and other innovations that will change electrical demand.

Existing Power Networks include a mixture of old and new plant, some of which is beyond design life. This may not be a problem at historical loading levels, but future visions involve increased power densities and changes in primary and secondary substation topology. Research on asset management and life-time extension is required to provide economical and reliable solutions to these issues.

Integration of DC interties and Power Electronics within networks has been identified as key enabling technologies. Therefore projects on HVDC, power electronics, intermittent generation, energy storage, dynamic demand, intelligent protection and control and the use of data provided by smart meters and local/wide-area monitoring systems are required.

- Power Network Operation, Planning and Governance

Transmission and Distribution Operating Companies need projects on planning processes that co-ordinates land-use with other infrastructures. Projects include planning uncertainty and complexity, integration of modelling with geographical information systems, stakeholder behaviour, decision modelling and the impact of resource allocation and operating lifecycles.

Projects on smart operational control strategies can simplify network planning and reduce the cost of implementing: demand response; combined heat and power; and district heating.

- Changes to the pattern of energy demands and their effect on the power network

Climate change will have an adverse effect on network reliability and projects are required to help network companies economically manage the electrification of heating, cooling and transport. Projects are also required on the interaction between energy vectors and network infrastructure with multiple uncertainties.

- Cross cutting technologies

Research in Mathematics and Management on stochastic dynamic optimisation techniques can be used to underpin projects on heat and electrical energy storage under uncertain price and supply conditions.

Projects using a cognitive lens to uncover how large infrastructure projects can be delivered through meta-organisations are also required.

Key Findings
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk