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Trucks play a major part in the delivery of goods, but are also responsible for a lot of air pollution. Cities are therefore more and more banning heavy transport from city centres and even complete built-up regions are increasingly converted to emission-free zones. This change, together with economic benefits, will see much road transport transitioning from fossil-fuel powered to electrified trucks. As a direct consequence, a large demand in (high-power) fast chargers for trucks is foreseen, and in conjunction a large load on the electricity grid. The Netherlands is facing net congestion problems at the moment already due to a rapid growth of electricity use and PV generation, and it is expected that these problems will only intensify and occur in more and more countries in the future.
Charging infrastructure for electric trucks will be concentrated on industrial estates where many distribution centres can be found. Especially in those locations, net congestion problems are expected to occur. The newly approved Nationaal Groeifonds Charging Energy Hubs project is aimed at combatting these problems through the use of smart energy solutions. Seamless integration of charging infrastructure, (renewable) energy generation, energy storage and scheduling demand of local energy consumers, will allow charging hubs to offer flexibility during peak demand and in case of grid balancing problems.
Within this project, the Power Electronics lab at the Eindhoven University of Technology is looking for two talented PhD-candidates.
Position 1: Advanced control of medium-voltage-connected multilevel converters
Fast charging at high-power levels requires a connection to a medium-voltage grid, in order to alleviate the load on the low voltage network. Multilevel converters can be used to couple the low voltage DC output to a medium voltage AC network. These converters are complex to control, as they typically consist of many series connected power converter modules. The resulting MIMO control problem is nonlinear and offers many degrees of freedom that can used to optimise the charger performance. In this position you will have the opportunity to explore creative solutions for modelling, modulation and (nonlinear and/or distributed) control of (amongst other converter types) the modular multilevel converter and stacked H-bridge converter. Naturally, experimental verification of your ideas on a laboratory setup will be part of the work.
Position 2: Modelling, interaction and control of grid-connected switched-mode power converters
When connecting more and more power converters to a grid, the influence that they have on connected loads and generation will increase. Voltage level and power quality problems surface already under large quantities of photovoltaic generation, but coupling many high-power chargers to a grid is expected to have more consequences; on stability, power quality, harmonic injection, et cetera. On the other hand, the connected converters will also provide opportunities to counter many of these problems, given a good understanding of the problems, and making use of topological and changes in control. In this position you will use all your knowledge and creativity on modelling these interconnected converters and their interaction with the grid, analysing their influence, and investigating control methods that improve the power quality. Your proposed solutions will be implemented on prototypes in our laboratory. This will require experience with building and testing switched mode power converters.
Additionally, for both positions, presenting your findings and ideas to the scientific community is an essential part of your work, for which there are extensive travel possibilities.
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic colleague with a MSc-degree in electrical engineering, with a strong affinity with and knowledge of power electronics, state-of-the-art digital control, and mathematics. The candidate should have:
- Enthusiasm and motivation to work on highly challenging research topics, and the talent to contribute to the progress of science and technology.
- Experience with experimental work in electrical engineering, preferably power electronics.
- Strong programming skills (MATLAB, C, VHDL). Knowledge of and experience with microcontrollers, DSPs and/or FPGAs is a plus.
- Strong analytical and research capabilities.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Ability to independently organize his/her own work, to solve problems, to achieve the desired goals and to cooperate with others.
- Work experience in an industrial environment is a plus.
- Project management skills are a plus.
- Ability to participate in the teaching process in BSc and MSc programs (both taught in English) and to supervise BSc and MSc internships and graduation projects.
- Good scientific writing and documentation skills.
- Strong command of the English language, knowledge of Dutch language is a plus.
Conditions of employment
A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
- Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
- Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
- A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
- High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
- An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
- An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
- A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.