Within the Electrical Energy & Computer Architectures (Electa) division at the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) at KU Leuven, and EnergyVille, the research team led by prof. Jef Beerten focuses on the combined modelling and control of power electronic converters and power systems, with a focus on DC systems. The group of PhD students and postdocs consists of about 10 people. Within the team, we have a PhD position available on the subject of real-time monitoring and control of MMC-based VSC HVDC systems.

The massive integration of renewable energy sources in the power system worldwide is pushing the transmission systems to their limits. Power electronics-based network components are playing a major role in this energy transition. They offer the possibility to control power flows and increase the reliability of the network under variable working conditions. On the transmission level, High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology is the candidate for reinforcing and upgrading the system. Long-term visions encompass rolling-out an offshore grid in the North Sea combined with so-called "electricity highways", energy corridors with power ratings that are an order of magnitude higher than existing line ratings.

However, converters get unstable when system conditions in the network change (e.g. topological changes, change of SCR, …). Examples include, (i) amplifications of (high-frequency) resonances due to interactions with non-passive converter behavior, (ii) low grid strength can lead to PLL and outer loop control instability, (iii) control design and tuning relies on pre-defined scenarios and therefore does not account for all future changes in network.

This project will investigate the potential of high-bandwidth measurements could be available throughout the network for control and protection, and the possibility they offer towards adaptive control schemes.

Interested candidates should have a good understanding of power electronics control and stability. A strong interest and affinity in power system dynamics and simulations is essential.


As the ideal candidate:

  • You have a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering, with a solid background in power systems and power electronics and experience in control engineering, preferably from a reputable institute from a country within the European Economic Area.
  • You have obtained excellent study results.
  • You have the ambition to become a junior expert in power electronics modelling for HVDC grid control studies and be highly motivated for a 4-year PhD project.
  • You are communicative and motivated to work in a team with other experts studying different aspects of HVDC grids and power systems.
  • You have knowledge of power system simulation software (PSCAD) and the use of power electronics in power systems.
  • You are willing to occasionally travel in the framework of the PhD project.
  • Experience with real-time simulation and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) experiments is considered as an advantage.
  • You are able to communicate fluently in English, both orally and in writing. Knowledge of the Dutch language is a plus.

We offer an exciting job in one of the leading research institutes in the field. HVDC technology is receiving significant attention from both academia and industry. This project allows you to work in an inspiring environment within a team of enthusiastic colleagues on a highly timely research topic.

Working location: Genk, Belgium (EnergyVille).