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PhD Studentship - Characterisation of HVDC Grounding Systems during Fault Conditions

Durham University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Durham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,553 per annum (based on 2017/2018 stipend)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 19th October 2018
Closes: 31st December 2018

Duration: 3.5 years

Project Supervisors: Dr Hamed Bahmani

Project Description:

The main emphasis of this project is to investigate different types of HVDC grounding electrodes, and evaluate their performance during normal operation and transient fault conditions. In this study, grounding electrodes of different configuration, scheme and material will be evaluated. The results and outcomes of this research will provide a fundamental understanding on performance of the HVDC grounding electrodes, under normal operation and more importantly during transient fault conditions. In this respect, computer programming and simulation will be performed on single scheme and meshed HVDC grid. As a key objective of this research, simulation modelling will be performed to evaluate impact of the HVDC configuration and grounding scheme on the transient and steady state currents and voltages for different fault scenarios, e.g. pole to ground fault condition. Furthermore, touch and step voltages in the vicinity and far distance from the earth electrode and fault location will be evaluated for each configuration. The main objectives of this project are highlighted as follow:

  • An in depth literature survey on grounding systems for HVDC networks
  • Identify constraints on different types of HVDC grounding electrodes
  • Interaction between DC and AC grounding systems
  • Identify DC safety limits and production of a set of tolerable voltage curves
  • Develop a simulation model to evaluate HVDC grounding system for different fault scenarios

Assessment criteria:

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria. Candidates should contact the relevant member of academic staff to discuss project-specific requirements:

  • First class honours (or high 2.1 or equivalent) degree in engineering or physics
  • Strong understanding of engineering applications and problem solving.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.

The following criteria are desirable but not essential:

  • First degree in electrical/electronic engineering.
  • A strong understanding of principle of HVDC systems.
  • Knowledge in power electronic converters.
  • Experience in analytical modelling and computer simulation with relevant modelling software e.g. MATLAB/SIMULINK, EMTP or similar software.
  • Experience in fundamental concepts of power systems and power system protection.
  • Practical skill in electrical/electronic engineering.

In the first instance, interested candidates are encouraged to make an informal enquiry to the named academic supervisor(s). To apply formally for this studentship, applicants should submit a cover letter highlighting what they can bring to the project, their CV and the names of two academic referees. Applicants will be required to submit a formal application using the online system found at

Decisions will be made on applicants as they are received. It is therefore possible that the PhD position will be filled before the closing date for applications.

The Department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to promoting women in Science, Engineering and Technology.

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