Energy Storage and its Applications

The ground-breaking Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Storage and its Applications at the Universities of Sheffield and Southampton opened in October 2014, funded by the EPSRC, to tackle industrial challenges and develop new technologies and skills that will enable the UK to meet its low carbon targets.

PhD vacancy for UK/EU candidates only- Sheffield 2018 entry

Optimising the use of distributed energy storage for demand response.

Supervisors: Dr Solomon Brown, Dr Rachael Rothman, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Sheffield

This PhD Project will use Agent based modelling to investigate the operation of distributed energy storage in collaboration with Drax Power Limited. In order to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by the incorporation of renewables and to manage energy costs of customers, demand management or load shifting of energy is an important practice. Energy storage technology lies at the heart of this strategy, providing a repository when necessary for consumers as well as smoothing the natural fluctuations in renewable electricity production.

This project investigates and seeks to optimise strategies for the use of distributed energy storage assets, e.g. batteries, for the dispatch of these to provide FFR, EFR, peak saving and load shift, and a combination thereof. This will look across a small grid containing multiple storage devices across a number of consumers and will seek to optimise the charge/discharge cycles of individual assets to provide these services. The project will utilise an agent-based approach to simulate the interactions between the fluctuating grid and its users, such an approach allows the study of the various technologies potentially implemented across a grid for a population and the ability to directly assess costs not only in aggregate but to individual grid clients.

The optimisation across the system will be performed in terms of both benefit to each individual consumer as well as reliability. This assessment will be made across various time horizons in order to encompass the lifetime of assets. The project will include a long term part-time placement at Drax Power Limited (Selby) and therefore the applicant must be willing to travel to the industrial partner.


Why choose a Centre for Doctoral Training for your PhD?

We offer a unique 4 year PhD training programme for a small annual cohort. Each student undertakes their research project with an industrial partner and receives a comprehensive technical and professional skills training. 

  • Engage with international energy research leaders at leading Russell Group Universities
  • Operate our brand new £5M EPSRC funded Grid Connected Energy Storage research facility
  • Partner with industries in energy generation, supply and technology development.

 As a graduate of the CDT you will be equipped with:

  • Understanding of energy provision as a complete system.
  • Insight into the socio-economic, policy and regulatory aspects of energy storage.
  • Awareness of how the industry could develop and how to identify new business opportunities.
  • Appreciation of industrial challenges and work practices (via an industrial placement).
  • Expert technical knowledge (via a PhD focusing on a single storage technology).
  • Excellent employment prospects to fill the demand for doctoral level trained employees in the development and delivery of the UK energy storage sector. 

What does our bespoke training programme cover?

The Energy Storage CDT offers a four-year, full-time postgraduate research degree combining PhD level research with a taught programme involving technical, and professional skills training. 

Year One 

The first year introduces students from a wide range of backgrounds to the current state of the art in energy storage, acquiring the engineering language and skills to understand technologies and solutions in energy storage. The modules studied are:

  • Introduction to Energy Technologies, Environment and Sustainability (taught at the University of Southampton, 15 credits)
  • Global Energy Systems (taught at the University of Sheffield, 15 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Energy Storage (taught at the University of Sheffield, 30 credits)
  • The Social Science of Energy Storage (taught at the University of Sheffield, 15 credits)
  • Mini-project (at either University, 15 credits)
  • Energy Storage Applications (taught at the University of Southampton, 30 credits)
  • Summer project (at either University, 60 credits)

All modules are compulsory. Each module is delivered via one week of block teaching on campus followed by three weeks of independent study. Each credit represents 10 hours of work. Students must pass all modules to proceed to Year Two.

Years Two to Four

At the start of Year 2 (October) students start their PhD project. Students follow the University doctoral progression regulations, with regular reporting on progress and upgrade assessment to progress through the PhD. As well as doctoral research, during years two to four students complete several professional skills modules to facilitate their CV for career acceleration after graduating from the Centre.

Students are required to submit their final thesis for examination by the end of Year Four, which coincides with the end of funding. The maximum time limit for the submission of the thesis is five years.