Local Energy Communities and Multi-Energy Microgrids: Modelling, Assessment, Design and Operation Framework

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With the widespread penetration of distributed energy resources (DER), including at the household level, increasing focus on energy affordability and sustainability, and growing interest in energy independence and consumer-centric models, new technical and commercial paradigms are being put forward to support the development of distributed energy systems.

Furthermore, the coupling of multiple energy vectors and sectors (e.g. electricity, fuels, heating) in the so-called distributed multi-energy systems can bring additional benefits in terms of economy of scope and energy system flexibility. The concept of organizing multi-energy systems in Local Energy Communities (LEC) has therefore gained significant attention in the last few years as a way to combine local resource coordination and “smart grid thinking” with the decarbonization of other sectors such as heating and transport.

However, new techno-economic concepts and architectures such as local energy communities, multi-energy microgrids, etc. introduce new complex physical and commercial interactions and require new modelling and assessment methodologies.

Project goals

The Forschungszentrum Jülich-based project aims to develop new methods and tools for the design and operation of LEC and multi-energy microgrids.

The University of Melbourne based-project aims to develop a comprehensive techno-economic modelling and assessment framework to assess the value of different technical solutions and business models for development of LEC and multi-energy microgrids.

Supervision team

The University of Melbourne: Prof Pierluigi Mancarella

Forschungszentrum Jülich: Prof Andrea Benigni

*Click on the researcher's name above to learn more about their publication and grant successes.

Who we are looking for

We are seeking two PhD candidates with the following skills:

  • A Masters qualification in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Energy System Engineering, Physics, or equivalent experience
  • Demonstrated experience in the field of power and energy systems and, ideally, energy markets
  • Desirable demonstrated experience in programming and optimization languages, e.g. Python and/or Julia
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to write research reports or other publications to a publishable standard (even if not published to date)
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated organisational skills, time management and ability to work to priorities
  • Demonstrated problem-solving abilities
  • Availability to travel nationally and internationally and spend long periods abroad

Further details

  • Two PhD projects are available. One candidate will be based at University of Melbourne with a minimum twelve-month stay at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The FZJ candidate will be based in Jülich and will spend a minimum of 12 months at UoM.
  • The PhD candidate will benefit from the combined expertise of the project supervisors, and the embedding into two exciting research environments in two different countries.
  • Prof Pierluigi Mancarella at the University of Melbourne will contribute expertise in techno-economic assessment, planning and design of distributed energy systems and markets. Prof Andrea Benigni at Forschungszentrum Jülich will contribute expertise in power system modelling, simulation and control of future distributed power and energy systems.
  • The candidate will be located at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK) at Forschungszentrum Julich and enrolled in the PhD program at RWTH Aachen and the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Melbourne

To apply for this joint PhD opportunity, and to view the entry requirements, visit How to apply.

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How to apply

Apply for a joint PhD with the Jülich-University of Melbourne Postgraduate Academy.

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