Skip to content

EPSRC iCase PhD in Engineering: Highly efficient integration of lithium batteries to improve reliability and power density of WBG-based medium voltage direct current converters

Key facts

Application deadline 31 May 2019
Start date 1 October 2019
Duration 4 years full-time
Funding body EPSRC
Level of study Postgraduate research
Award type PhD studentship
Number of studentships One

EPSRC Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) provide funding for PhD studentships where businesses take the lead in arranging projects with an academic partner of their choice. Find out more information about the DTP and industrial CASE projects.

This project is proposed to reduce DC capacitors by integrating high performance compact Lithium batteries into power converters.

This EPSRC Industrial CASE four year PhD Scholarship is in collaboration with Toshiba.


Emerging wide bandgap semiconductors (WBG) offer an opportunity to significantly improve the performance of power electronics converters by increasing switching frequency and reducing losses.

However, the DC capacitors that required stay large and vulnerable even if fast-frequency WBG switches are used. This is because DC capacitors are sized mainly according to low-frequency voltage ripple.

About one third of converter failures are caused by failed DC capacitors and it is often that more than half the size of power converters is occupied by DC capacitors, eg, power modules in Modular Multi-level Converters (MMC).

The integrated batteries can be used in a multi-functional way including to provide electric grid ancillary services, which improves the economic viability of such solution. It is accepted wisdom that future power systems will be dominated by power electronics converters, so the proposed study is expected to address a large new market for lithium batteries.

Project aims and methods

The project will focus on battery-integrated AC-DC converters connected to Medium Voltage AC grid (11-132kV). Medium Voltage AC-DC (MVDC) converters are expected to be widely adopted in future distribution networks for system controllability.

A study in Scotland has estimated a reduction of £1.7bn in the costs of the collector and connection circuits would be possible only in Scotland if they were connected to Medium Voltage DC.

The proposed project is based on the Angle-DC project, which is being developed by Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) to demonstrate the first point-to-point MVDC link (30 MW, 54 kV) for operation of a DC circuit. Cardiff University is the only academic partner of the Angle-DC project.

In detail, the project will:

  • quantify benefits of integrating batteries into MVDC converters
  • develop advanced MVDC converter topologies and control strategies to integrate batteries, considering efficiency, power density and reliability
  • develop co-ordinated protection strategies of batteries and MVDC converters for safe operation
  • co-ordinate system dynamics through distributed ledger technologies to provide ancillary services.

The research will be verified on a lab-scale experimental platform, which is already established at the University and has the same topology but down-scaled power ratings compared to the MVDC converters in the Angle-DC project.



Postgraduate Research Admissions, School of Engineering

Funding details

Tuition fee support Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

Eligibility criteria

Residency UK Research Council eligibility conditions apply
Academic criteria

You should hold or expect to gain a first class degree or a good 2.1 and/or an appropriate master’s level qualification (or their equivalent).

You should have a good level of proficiency in electrical/electronic engineering particularly power electronics.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent).

The studentship is open to:

  • UK students
  • EU students who have been resident in the UK for three years at the course start date
  • other candidates who can demonstrate a connection to the UK, usually through residency.


Postgraduate Research Admissions, School of Engineering

In the first instance, interested applicants are invited to send a CV and covering email/letter to the School of Engineering.

Please ensure that you quote the studentship reference HAK/iCASE2018 in the email subject field.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to submit an online application form.

We reserve the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.


Postgraduate Research Admissions, School of Engineering

Funding opportunity provided by:

Join us on Friday 5 July to find out more about postgraduate funding opportunities for September 2019.

Eligible research programmes