English version

PhD Researcher: Dynamic MMC converter modeling for HVDC grid control studies

(Ref. BAP-2017-49)

Tewerkstelling : Voltijds
Duur : Bepaalde duur
Plaats : Genk
Solliciteren tot en met : 15/03/2017
The Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) at KU Leuven offers a PhD position on dynamic MMC converter modeling for HVDC grid control studies.

PhD Researcher: Dynamic MMC converter modeling for HVDC grid control studies

The Electrical energy & computer architectures ELECTA division of the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) of the KU Leuven covers the broad spectrum of electrical energy systems and robust control of industrial systems. The development of the future smart grid is the key activity.
As the largest research group on electrical energy systems in the Benelux, ELECTA wants to be recognized as a center-of-excellence on these topics, where fundamental research is combined with immediately and prospectively applicable solutions for the industry.

Alongside this development of know-how, it is important is to share gained knowledge with the academic community, students, industry and the society as a whole. ELECTA is also co-founder of the knowledge center EnergyVille together with VITO and imec. The work location is the EnergyVille Campus of the University of Leuven, located in Genk / Belgium.
Contact: dr. ir. Jef Beerten, jef.beerten@esat.kuleuven.be, prof.dr.ir. Dirk Van Hertem, dirk.vanhertem@esat.kuleuven.be


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.


Compared to the point-to-point HVDC connections that are now widespread in our transmission system, significant cost reductions and increased reliability can be obtained by building a meshed HVDC grid. The European Commission, the power industry as well as environmental organizations support the development of such a meshed system to develop a North Sea grid, which will connect wind farms and strengthen the European internal electricity market. In the long term, these developments can give rise to a European HVDC “supergrid”, interconnecting the power generated by wind in the North Sea with solar power generated in the South of Europe.


Such HVDC grids will most likely develop as multi-vendor systems. Over the past years, the modular multilevel converter (MMC) topology has presented itself as a preferred solution for VSC HVDC projects. The topology offers considerable flexibility in terms of controlling the individual submodules. For control stability studies of HVDC grids, accurate converter models are needed. The proposed research focuses on the control and modelling of MMC converter.


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 or power electronics and experience in control engineering, preferably from a reputable institute from a country within the European Economic Area.
  • You should have obtained excellent study results.
  • You should have the ambition to become a junior expert in power electronics modelling and HVDC grid control and be highly motivated for a 4 year PhD project.
  • Interested to work in a team with experts studying different aspects of HVDC grids and power systems.
  • Willingness for occasional travel in the framework of the project.
  • You have knowledge of power system simulation software and the use of power electronics in power systems
  • You are able to communicate fluently in English, both orally and in writing. Knowledge of the Dutch language is a plus.


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


For more information please contact dr. ir. Jef Beerten, tel.: +32 16 32 10 39, mail: jef.beerten@esat.kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. ir. Dirk Van Hertem, tel.: +32 16 32 34 62, mail: dirk.vanhertem@esat.kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than March 15, 2017 via the

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