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Advertising division: IEK-3 - Electrochemical Process Engineering
Reference number: 2019M-076, Mathematics, power system engineering, industrial engineering

Master thesis: Transmission Grid Expansion Planning within a Sector-Coupling Framework for the Energy System of Germany

Start of work: as soon as possible / by agreement

The climate goals set by the German government would require a significant dependency on energy supply from renewable energy sources (RES), primarily on wind and solar energy. However, the high temporal fluctuations associated with these sources, the spatial imbalance between locations with high generation potential and demand as well as the various spatio-temporal correlations may lead to considerable requirements for expanding the existing transmission infrastructure. On the other hand, such expansion may face significant opposition with regard to social acceptance. Moreover, the use of hydrogen as a fuel, for instance in the transportation sector, is considered a viable option for the decarbonization of other sectors besides power supply, since hydrogen can be generated via electrolysis using RES. Nevertheless, the spatio-temporal imbalance between supply and consumption may similarly require the development of additional infrastructure for the storage and transmission of hydrogen as well.

In IEK-3, we have developed FINE, a modeling framework for optimizing energy systems relying on RES, as well as a rich portfolio of respective data and tools. In this way, we can investigate future scenarios for the energy system in Germany including electricity and hydrogen demand in high spatial and temporal resolution.

The problem of transmission expansion planning has been addressed widely in the past. Nevertheless, due to the high complexity involved, many approaches would not consider generation expansion simultaneously, let along transmission expansion for different energy carriers. However, the increasing efforts of decarbonizing the whole energy system has recently led to the inclusion of sector-coupling and generation expansion when designing transmission infrastructure, e.g. the collaborative planning of natural gas and power transmission on the pan-European level.

Your tasks
In this thesis, the FINE optimization framework will be further developed to include adequate methodologies for the expansion planning of the transmission grid of Germany. The student should take into account that the high complexity of the original problem which can be formulated as a mixed-integer non-linear problem, the large size of the network as well as the coupling with hydrogen transmission infrastructure expansion and derive the necessary approximations for the purposes of this thesis. Moreover, the corresponding approaches will be implemented within the existing framework and applied for the case of Germany. In this way, the cost benefits of expanding the power grid can be evaluated, particularly in comparison to the corresponding development of hydrogen infrastructure. The following tasks summarize the outline of the thesis:

  • Literature review of the available methodologies with a focus on novel challenges incorporating RES expansion and sector-coupling
  • Evaluation and selection of appropriate formulations as well as corresponding approximations or relaxations (e.g. iterative linear, mixed-integer linear programming etc.).
  • Incorporation of the European and German Network Development Plans into the existing transmission grid.
  • Reduction of the grid, if necessary.
  • Implementation into the FINE framework and application for Germany considering RES shares as well as hydrogen supply and transmission.
  • Analysis of results including sensitivity analysis.

Your profile

  • Very good academic records in mathematics, power system engineering, industrial engineering or comparable fields
  • Interested in power systems
  • Highly motivated individual
  • Self-reliance and analytical way of working
  • Experience in GIS and Python programming desirable

Our offer

  • A pleasant working environment within a highly competent, international team in one of the most prestigious research facilities in Europe
  • You will be remunerated, supported by top-end scientific and technical infrastructure as well as closely guided by experts
  • You will have the opportunity to work with excited researchers from various scientific fields and take part in designing the future energy system

Konstantinos Syranidis
Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK)
IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
52425 Jülich

Tel. 02461 61-9156