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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001107/1
Title: Affordable and clean energy via resilient and autonomous micro-grids
Principal Investigator: Konstantopoulos, Dr G
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aalborg University Cross-Flow Energy Company Ltd. (C-fec) Infinite Renewables Ltd
OPAL-RT Technologies (International)
Department: Automatic Control and Systems Eng
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 25 June 2018 Ends: 24 June 2022 Value (£): 515,137
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 5 - 8 and 9 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The rising integration of distributed renewable energy resources (DERs), i.e. renewable energy systems, energy storage systems and active loads, to the power grid has increased the need for decentralised power network infrastructures utilising distributed generation and storage in a local and autonomous manner (micro-grids). Since DERs suffer from increased volatility in the supply (renewable energy systems) and demand (consumer behaviour), the key challenge is to achieve a reliable, stable and resilient operation of modern micro-grid systems in order to provide clean and cheap energy to both power producers and consumers (households, businesses). The solution to this challenge is hidden in the 'control design of DERs'. A decentralised control approach for DER units that operates with minimum communication under both normal and abnormal conditions (faults, unit disconnections, loss of communication) will significantly increase system resilience and pave the way towards a new generation of micro-grids, where clean energy will be utilised at a cheaper price within the premises of a local community of producers and consumers.

The aim of this fellowship proposal is to develop a novel control engineering approach for maximum utilisation of DERs in a local community-type micro-grid architecture based on the unique 'bounded integral control' methodology that can rigorously prove nonlinear stability of the entire micro-grid system. Using a private power network infrastructure that links producers and consumers of a local community (neighbourhood) with central and local storage units behind the meter, new Peer-to-Peer (P2P) energy-trading opportunities will be generated via this community-type micro-grid, leading to at least 20% financial benefits for every community member. The resilience of the system will be guaranteed via the advanced control technologies for the power converter-fed DER units, which will rigorously guarantee a stable and reliable micro-grid operation in a decentralised manner (minimum communication requirements). Both fundamental and applied research will be generated by the proposed research, i.e. the generalised bounded integral control theory with nonlinear stability analysis for micro-grids, and novel decentralised control technologies for integrating DERs.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed approach that combines 'control' and 'power' engineering research areas, the fellowship will lead to the development of a strong and sustainable research group that will produce world-leading research and technological solutions in the areas of control systems, micro-grids and smart grids directly aligned with the UK industrial strategy of 'cheap and clean energy technologies'. Based on the strong industrial (Infinite Renewables, Crossflow Energy, Yokogawa, OPAL RT) and academic support (Prof J. Guerrero from Aalborg University), and building on the existing links of the industrial partners with UK Housing Associations, suitable sites (e.g. new-build communities) will be identified to implement the proposed technology and generate the first autonomous community-type micro-grid in the UK.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk