Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply

Energy policy has to balance the often competing needs and consequences of maintaining security of supply, ensuring affordability and minimising environmental impact.

Our research centre addresses this complex challenge by conducting fundamental research, working with industry and providing education and training of post-graduate students.

The Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply (CIREGS) was established in 2008 as a multidisciplinary engineering group with international expertise in both the supply and transmission of energy. Through rigorous academic research, we seek to expand our knowledge on topics such as wind and solar energy, HVDC, smart grids and integrated energy systems to name but a few. In so doing, we are able to provide expertise to industry and policymakers as well as academics.

Over the years, we have conducted many large-scale projects, trained students from all over the world and published numerous technical papers  and books . As a result, our group now takes an active part in the delivery of FLEXIS, MEDOW, BESTPATHS projects  and many others .

Smart grid

A smart grid employs communications, intelligent monitoring and control in order to facilitate an efficient connection and co-operation of many generators and energy sources.

The smart grid is therefore an opportunity to move the energy industry into a new era of low-carbon reliability, affordability and efficiency that will contribute to economic and environmental stability.

A particular focus of our research is to move the ideas of the smart grid beyond electricity to include other energy vectors (i.e. gas, heat and cooling). We are interested in:

  • Concepts and methodologies that manage a large number of distributed energy resources such as microgrid, CELL, virtual power plant, virtual energy storage, and peer to peer networks.
  • Multi-time-scale, multi-granularity and multi-system modelling.
  • Alternative large-scale distribution system simulation techniques for smart distribution network operation and planning.
  • Distribution network operating strategies that mitigate network constraints which take into account uncertainties of load, distributed generation, network topology and Smart Grid interventions.
  • The role of smart meters and how they can facilitate demand-side response and power system operation.
  • Dynamic demand technologies that provide ancillary services for power system operation.
  • Multi-agent control of a large number of geographically disparate loads and electric vehicles.
  • Cloud-based virtual power plants capable of utilising electricity storage assets and vehicle to grid power.

Our work within this area, much of which has been funded by EPSRC and industry, centres on developing these interests into concepts and methodologies that enable a better management, planning and optimisation of distributed energy resources.

To find out more about our work, please contact:

Energy infrastructure

Energy supply infrastructure is undergoing a transformation in response to energy demand growth, climate change, rising energy costs and fuel security concerns. It is driven by government energy policy initiatives and is influenced by low carbon technologies including renewables and advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

This revolution is affecting all energy vectors i.e. electrical power networks, natural gas networks, district heating and cooling supply systems. It is also introducing new technologies, new network configurations, new network design and operation strategies, business and regulatory mechanisms. As a result, technical and economic interactions between these traditionally separate systems are increasing rapidly. The changes are also increasing the need for energy storage and improving the business case for its deployment.

A particular focus of our research is to investigate the coupling and interactions between various energy supply networks at different geographical scales, so as to create an efficient, co-ordinated energy supply system.

The scope of our research extends from investigating efficient building energy supply systems, community energy supply systems, district and urban energy systems to the integrated national and European energy networks.

Our research activities and expertise in this area, much of which has received Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry funding, include:

  • Studies of interactions and interdependencies of multi-vector energy networks and development of integrated analysis and optimisation methods
  • Modelling of combined GB gas and electricity transmission networks
  • Green urban energy infrastructure - integrated electricity/gas/heating/cooling systems
  • Optimal energy flow within a microgrid
  • EU gas network modelling and the interactions and interdependencies between the GB integrated electricity/gas systems and the EU electricity/gas systems
  • Vulnerability assessment of energy infrastructure
  • Integration of low carbon technologies through multi-vector energy networks and benefit quantification
  • The role of alternative gas/heat resources and gas/heat networks in future integrated energy systems.
  • Building energy modelling and flexibility assessment.

To find out more about our work, please contact:

Power electronics and HVDC

Power electronics is a fundamental technology for a broad range of new energy generation, transmission and distribution systems. Power electronic systems enable the flexible conversion, efficient transmission and reliable distribution of electrical energy. Wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays and modern industrial motor drives all use advanced power electronic converters, circuits, devices and control systems to interface with the electrical grid.

There has been a rapid take-up of very large-scale power electronic converters, in the form of high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission systems, for the connection of offshore generation into onshore grids and the interconnection of the electricity grids of different countries. HVDC transmission is now an internationally-competitive sector of UK industry and academia.

Here at CIREGS we specialise in three core topic related to Power Electronics. These are:

HDVC

Voltage source converter based high voltage DC (VSC-HVDC) transmission technology, is particularly suitable for integrating offshore wind power and connecting multiple AC grids. VSC-HVDC will be a key technology for future HVDC grids, such as a pan-European SuperGrid. We use a combination of simulation tools and laboratory-scale experimental facilities to demonstrate the operation and control of multi-terminal HVDC networks and investigate the provision of ancillary services from HVDC to AC grids.

Industrial power electronics

About two-thirds of the electrical energy used by industry is consumed by various types of electrical machines. Advances in modern power electronic drives and converter systems will improve control flexibility and also lead to significant improvements in energy efficiency. We explore interactions between generation sources that are connected using power electronic converters, HVDC technologies and the electrical power systems and develop control schemes to mitigate any potential adverse interactions.

Automatic control for power systems

The application of control theory is essential for the regulation of industrial processes, operation of conventional power systems, and integration of renewable energy sources into electricity grids. We investigate and develop efficient control strategies to guarantee system stability, optimum robustness and overall performance of HVDC technologies (links and grids) and energy storage systems.

To find out more about our work, please contact:

We are a key contributor to a number of major research projects and so have a wide range of national and international links with the industry and academia.

These links allow us to work in partnership with key stakeholders in the energy sector so as to develop our research portfolio and areas of work in line with industrial and legislative priorities, requirements and policy.

We are leading one UK-China smart grid project and contributing to another three UK-China and two UK-India smart grid projects, working with leading research institutions and industry partners in both the UK and overseas.

We are a key contributor to a number of major research consortia, including District of Future, UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), EPSRC Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC and MISTRAL), and EPSRC HubNet, in which we are leading the multi energy system theme. The academics in the team have contributed to a number of technical books in this area.

We have active research collaborations on energy infrastructure with a number of industry partners. Dr Mahesh Sooriyabandara (Associate Managing Director, Toshiba Europe Telecommunications Research Laboratory), Dr Norman Macloed (Parsons Brinckenrhoff Power) and Carl Baker (GE Grid Solutions) are visiting Professors at the School. Toshiba Europe Telecommunications Research Laboratory has recently funded a PhD studentship to investigate analysis methods of multi-energy systems.

We have active engagement with a number of industrial partners including National Grid, Scottish Power Energy Networks and Siemens.

Steering and feedback from industry is a core element of our work in these rapidly developing fields of research. Students, therefore, benefit from industrial interest in their PhD projects and many former students have gone on to careers in industry.

Current projects

Flexible Integrated Energy System

FLEXIS is a £24 million research operation designed to develop an energy systems research capability. It is led by Cardiff University, Swansea University and the University of South Wales, and will be delivered in two geographical areas; West Wales and the Valleys, and East Wales. FLEXIS has received £15 million in funding support through the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO).

The aim of the project is to create a culture of research and innovation across Wales so that we are known across the world as a leader in energy systems technology. Part of the overall project’s activity will also include driving innovation to create jobs and produce real economic impact.

Our research group contributes to the first work package which will address how energy systems must evolve to provide sustainable, secure and affordable supplies over the next 30 years. It will build on the on-going research of the 7 academics and their researchers in the CIREGS research group: N Jenkins, L Cipcigan, J Wu, J Liang, C Ugalde, M Qadrdan and W Ming.

The main topics that will be addressed are:

  • Modelling and simulation of energy supply.
  • Optimal planning and design.
  • Reliability and risk assessment.
  • Smart grids.
  • Energy storage.

Best paths

Beyond State-of-the-Art Technologies for Power AC Corridors Multi-Terminal HVDC Systems

Cardiff University is collaborating with 8 partners consisting of 1 wind turbine manufacturer, 3 research institutions, 2 transmission system operators and 2 universities in Demo #1 on the BEST PATHS project to:

  • Develop high-level control algorithms for HVDC converters as part of an open-access simulation toolbox for HVDC-connected wind farms modelled using Simulink.
  • Simulate, analyse and report the performance of HVDC-connected wind farms during steady-state, transient and fault conditions using the open-access toolbox and develop a user manual for the open-access toolbox.
  • Contribute to the development of a 50 kW laboratory-scale demonstrator for HVDC-connected offshore wind farms under construction in SINTEF Norway.

Infrastructure Transition Research Consortium /MISTRAL

ITRC is a collaboration between seven leading UK universities and over 50 partners from infrastructure policy and practice investigating ways to improve the performance of infrastructure systems in the UK and around the world.

The aim of the research is to help businesses and policymakers to explore the risk of infrastructure failure and the long term benefits of investments and policies to improve infrastructure systems.

ITRC’s research aims to develop and demonstrate a new generation of simulation tools to inform planning and design of national infrastructure (energy, water, transport).

Cardiff University leads the energy supply modelling activities within the ITRC consortium that includes:

  • Development of an optimisation tool for generation capacity expansion planning.
  • Analyse interactions between the UK energy system and other sectors such as transport and water under alternative scenarios developed in collaboration with National Grid and DECC.
  • Perform analysis of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for HM Treasury (IUK). The primary aim of the collaboration was to analyse IUK’s pipeline of infrastructure investments (550 infrastructure projects with a budget of £438 billion for the next decade) and explore alternative longer term strategies with various future socio-economic and climate change scenarios.

MISTRAL is Phase 2 of the ITRC project. The aim is to develop a multi-vector energy system model that varies in spatial and temporal scales. The new model will have the capability to be applied across multiple countries. Analysis will be performed for stakeholders such as the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) using a combination of the ITRC and new model across a wide spectrum of techno-economic and policy issues.

UKERC

UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. It is a focal point of UK energy research and a gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities.

Cardiff University led the Energy supply programme team from 2009-2014 and was tasked with investigating UK energy supply to 2050, taking into account radical developments being put in place from 2020 onwards. The team investigated options for longer term decarbonisation, while recognising the long life-time of energy assets and the need for a smooth trajectory of change.

The CGEN model was used to determine the infrastructure requirements of a number of diverse scenarios. The impacts of shocks on the energy network were measured. The benefits of mitigation options to counteract the impact of such outages were investigated. The results were used extensively in the widely publicised UKERC 2050 report. The CGEN model was also used for system resilience assessment for low probability but high impact outages to the UK gas and electricity infrastructure.

Encore+

The Engineering Complexity Resilience Network+

ENCORE Network+ is an EPSRC funded project which addresses the Grand Challenge area of Risk and Resilience in Complex Engineered Systems (CES). CES examples include complex products consisting of many interacting components such as gas turbine engines and complex networks such as the UK’s digital, energy and transport networks.

Cardiff University was awarded a grant for a feasibility study titled ‘Generating random-realistic topologies for electricity distribution networks’.

Lead researcher

Nick Jenkins

Nick Jenkins

Professor

Email:
jenkinsn6@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 4428

Academic staff

Liana Cipcigan

Dr Liana Cipcigan

Reader

Email:
cipciganlm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0665

Dr Janaka Ekanayake

Senior Lecturer - Teaching and Research

Email:
ekanayakej@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0675
Jun Liang

Professor Jun Liang

Professor of Power Electronics

Email:
liangj1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0666

Dr Meysam Qadrdan

Lecturer - Teaching and Research

Email:
qadrdanm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0370
Ahmad Rafiee

Ahmad Rafiee

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email:
rafieea@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44(0) 7486 523593

Dr Carlos Ugalde-Loo

Lecturer - Teaching and Research

Email:
ugalde-looc@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0675
Jianzhong Wu

Jianzhong Wu

Professor

Email:
wuj5@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0668

Energy and environment

Energy and environment

Our engineers play a vital role in reducing environmental impact and increasing sustainable practices in a wide range of areas.