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The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Malaysia

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Figure 1: A fictitious microgrid network. This photo is obtained from National Instrument product webpage.
Figure 1: A fictitious microgrid network

Power Quality Improvement of the Future Smart Grid/Microgrid

 

Microgrid, incepted in 2003, is a relatively new and exciting area of research. It can be thought as a step towards a smarter grid and has been known to ease the integration of renewable energy resources, improve the participation of demand sides of the network, and improve the overall network efficiency. Facing the increasing energy demand on a worldwide scale, these advantages have attracted many policy makers from countries like United States, Europe, China, and Singapore into experimenting the concept through pilot plants.

Despite the reported advantages, it is recognizable that a distribution microgrid is more susceptible to power quality phenomenon than the conventional distribution network, especially when it operates in the islanded mode. This is generally known to be a consequence of it being a weak grid with high R/X cables, the inherent existence of single-phase sources/loads, and the increasing use of non-linear power electronic components, which is typically used to improve the local device’s efficiency but incur power quality issues at the grid sides due to non-sinusoidal loadings and/or negative-impedance effects.

This funded project aims to investigate the power quality phenomenon in a microgrid and subsequently to design a novel compensation method that fulfils both the technical and economic requirements. In contrast to the conventional applications, this method must perform optimally in both the operating modes (which are changeable) and under the existence of multiple intermittent distributed energy resources (e.g. wind, solar) in the network. The dynamical interaction among the converter systems within a microgrid may be another factor to be considered. The research outcome will further benefit the microgrid concept by improving the power quality and reliability, and reducing the cost of realization. The investigation will consist of theoretical/conceptual studies, numerical simulation, and ultimately experimental implementation.

The project will be based mainly at University of Southampton (Malaysia Campus) at Johor, Malaysia and at least a year at the UK campus. Multiple travels between the Johor Campus and the collaborating research centers/universities in Malaysia and Singapore are expected. Criteria for the MPhil/PhD research candidate include but not limited to good knowledge in power electronics, control, and power system, and have passion and motivation in this area of research. The final scope of the project will be defined based on the candidate’s background and interest. A basic entry requirement is a first-class or upper second-class degree at the UK-equivalent bachelors or master degree, and the degree-awarding institution is the University of Southampton, UK. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact me (c.s.lim@soton.ac.uk) to enquire further about the project and the financing options available (tuition fees and stipend).

 

 

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