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Power Engineering and Power Electronics Group

The Power Engineering and Power Electronics Group is an expanding research group at Aston University which undertakes research into both theoretical and practical aspects of power electronics and its impact on electrical power networks, ranging from the analysis and management of hierarchical complex networks such as a power electronic system, through to hands-on industrial experience in distribution and transmission networks. The group has extensive links to industry and undertakes undergraduate teaching (primarily foundation degree) to major Power Utilities. 

The electricity industry is undergoing significant changes to evolve into the “smart” grid of the future. The Power Engineering and Power Electronics group at Aston believe that the key to many of the changes that lie ahead will involve power electronic solutions (also including electronic breakers, fault-current limiters). These changes include but are not limited to bi-directional energy flow, increased demand (due to increased transport electrification), hybrid ac and dc networks and the integration of different energy storage media along with demand side management which will all require intelligent control and communications. These changes are not limited to traditional distribution and transmission networks but include all electrical networks including those around aerospace and other transport media.

Derived Electricity Network Benefits:

  • Flexibility, greater reliability and improved security
  • Integration of low carbon sources and energy storage
  • Higher network efficiency and capacity at lower running cost
  • Improved power quality and better grid stability
  • More environmentally friendly
  • Integration of electrified transport systems
  • Demand side Management opportunities
  • Key Prognostic and Diagnostic tools

Key Research Challenges:

  • Integration of passive and active Loads including Plug-in Hybrid EVs with Power Electronics and ICT (including smart sensing and condition monitoring)
  • Smart Grids enabling enhanced reliability, efficiency, protection and power improved quality at lower operating costs (including hybrid AC/DC distribution grids)
  • Power electronics for system interconnections and integration of large renewable distributed generation plants into power grids from transmission down to low voltage (LV) voltage levels
  • Economics and business case of moving to future Smart Grids
  • System operation, control strategies and advanced simulation tools including system and converter levels
  • Integration of gas and heat networks with electricity networks for security and efficiency
  • Innovative converter topologies and their control strategies across the system
  • Active demand side management with integrated smart metering system

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