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PhD Studentship: New Multilevel Converters for High-Voltage Battery Systems for the Decarbonisation of Marine Transport

University of Birmingham - Department of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Funded - see advert
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 4th December 2023
Closes: 31st January 2024

The need of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in maritime transport has given significant momentum to the diffusion of fully electric vessels. These vessels use batteries for the main propulsion system, but the high powers involved create a series of challenges for the design and the operation of the shipboard power system. For large vessels, the replacement of diesel propulsion with electrical propulsion will likely require the development of shipboard power systems above 1 kV. Therefore, the battery needs a suitable power converter to be connected to the power system. Reducing the weight and volume, and increasing efficiency is the primary objective of the design of this converter.

New multilevel converter topologies, isolated and non-isolated, could respond to these requirements and are the main objective of this PhD programme. The project will also look at using silicon-carbide Mosfets to reduce conduction and switching losses in comparison to insulated-gate bipolar transistors, as well as increase the average operating temperatures. The project will focus on design methodologies for these new converters and the modelling of their control aimed at improving the voltage regulation of the high-voltage power network for different operating conditions of the battery. Mathematical models and control algorithms will be verified using the hardware-in-the-loop platform available at the University of Birmingham as well as experiments on a small-scale lab demonstrator.

The successful candidate will have a 1st class degree (or equivalent) in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, preferably with an MSc degree with distinction (or equivalent) in the same area. They will have a strong interest in power engineering and power electronics and have some previous experience with microcontrollers and/or microprocessors. The project will be supervised by Professor Pietro Tricoli (p.tricoli@bham.ac.uk).

Funding notes:

Funding will be provided to cover fees at UK rate plus a monthly stipend equivalent to EPSRC rate. International candidates are eligible to apply, but they are expected to cover the difference between international and UK fees by other means. EPSRC scholarships are offered to candidates with 1st class (or equivalent) in their first degree. The research committee will assess the applications and will use a number of criteria including how the PhD projects fit the School and Research Groups’ strategies, the academic excellence of the candidates, ED&I, and the number of scholarships allocated to supervisors previously.

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