Pre-doctoral position: Decision support for improved DSO network management

June 19 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

VITO is a leading European independent research and technology organisation in the areas of cleantech and sustainable development, elaborating solutions for the large societal challenges of today.

A team of approximately 700 enthusiastic employees works on innovative research programmes within our 5 themes Energy, Chemistry, Materials, Landuse and Health. By doing this, they are contributing to the achievement of sustainable technological solutions in projects for clients (industry and governments).

If you would like to join and strengthen our VITO team as a researcher please consult our PhD/ Postdoc position currently available.

Decision support for improved DSO network management.

Promotor: D. Van Hertem (KULeuven)

Co-Promotor: R. D'hulst (VITO)


Renewables will play a major role in the transition to a clean energy system. This transition has a number of effects related to the electricity system: (1) an increasingly decentralized injection of renewable generation showing a high simultaneity of generated electricity, (2) an increase of the electrical load caused by a shift from fossil fuelled systems towards high efficient electrical equipment for transport and heating, and (3) an increased need for flexibility in the electricity system due to the high intermittency of renewable generation.

This phd aims to develop technology to optimise DSO operational planning and operations to deal with the foreseen distribution network evolution and request for more flexibility.  The objective is to improve the DSO's network management to avoid grid congestions and voltage constrains, while maintaining reliability.

During the last decade, a growing number of research and technology development activities related to active distribution networks have been carried out. These activities have developed methods to improve distribution network observability and controllability and proposed new market frameworks to enable utilization of also the small-scale resources in network management. Further development is needed to enable optimal utilization of all controllable resources in network management. The following open questions are targeted by in this phd:

  • How to support the DSOs in decision making when the local network load and production exhibit a high uncertainty and low aggregation level?

  • How to improve the situational awareness needed for optimising grid operations, including the uncertainty in forecasting methods, and taking into account scalability and computational tractability issues?

  • How to connect the DSO operational planning tools to a suitable market framework?

More information:

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess