News from AAU Energy

3 Marie Curie granted Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA)

The Department is proud to announce we have been granted 3 MSCA postdocs.

The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship (before called Individual Fellowships) is fellowship to experienced researchers looking to enhance their career development and prospects by working abroad. They offer exciting new learning opportunities and a chance to add some sparkle to your CV.

The objective of PFs is to support researchers’ careers and foster excellence in research. The Postdoctoral Fellowships action targets researchers holding a PhD who wish to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. PFs help researchers gain experience in other countries, disciplines and non-academic sectors.

Read more about the programme here

The 3 researchers from the department are Bo Fan, Felipe Camara, Mohammad Salimi. Below you can read factual information and a description of the respective project.

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Researcher: Bo Fan, Aalborg University

Title: Frequency Security of Low-Inertia Electrical Grids (FRESLING)

Budget: 207,000 Euro

Period: July 2021 (2 years)

Popularized Description:

For the European Union (EU), the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, has become the key to addressing the environmental problems since energy production and use across economic sectors generate more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. In order to integrate renewables into a power grid, solid-state power converters are used. Unlike the rotating electrical machines used for power generation in traditional power grids, power converters have no physical rotating components. With the increasing renewables integrated into a power grid, the number of power converters in the grid will also increase. The physical characteristics of the grid will also become increasingly different from the traditional one where only rotating machines are present. However, today’s power grid operation is still based on the traditional physical characteristics of these rotating machines. As a result, if no new operating principle is designed, the safe operation of the future grid with a high penetration level of renewables will not be ensured. In people’s daily life, there will be increasing power outages similar to the one that occurred in the UK grid on Aug. 9, 2019. To avoid such accidents, the physical characteristics of the power grid with high penetration of power converters will be established in this project. Novel operating principles will then be developed to ensure the future grid secure operation in order to support the EU’s path to a sustainable economy.

Most of this project will be carried out at Aalborg University (AAU), and the rest will be done at University College Dublin (UCD) during the half-year secondment.

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Researcher: Felipe Camara, Aalborg University

Title: Cables for HVDC Offshore Transmission Networks (CABOTioN)

Budget: 219 312 €

Period: August 2021 (2 years)

Popularized Description:

Driven by current perspectives on the potential of renewable resources, technological advances in the areas of offshore wind as well as solar and storage systems, of which the proposed energy islands are an example, are setting the pace towards the fulfilment of sustainable strategies in accordance with the European Union (EU) Recast Renewable Energy Directive. In order to face such a challenge, EU countries are focusing their efforts on cost-effective solutions to enable a more effective integration of renewable energy. For instance, cross-border interconnections or large offshore hubs exploiting the high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology play an import role for a greener and unified electricity market. Aware of the fact that submarine cables are quite complex and more challenging than traditional underground cables, as well as the lack of accurateness of actual models which results in a substantial deviation between simulations and field measurements, the proposed action will focus on the development of an innovative approach for identification of parameters of submarine HVDC cables suitable for incorporation in simulation tools in a straightforward way. This will allow accurate evaluations involving offshore energy facilities and transmission systems with regard to insulation coordination, cable ampacity, power quality, and performance of control strategies of HVDC converters.

The project will be carried out at Aalborg University and a four-month secondment will take place at the University of Lisbon.

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Researcher: Mohammad Salimi, Aalborg University

Title: A developed thermochemical approach for catalytic depolymerization of plastics (CATALEPTIC)

Budget: 219,000 Euro

Period: July 2021 (2 years)

Popularized Description:

With an estimated annual rate of 3.2 % from 2020 to 2027, the Plastic market increasingly consumes a considerable amount of total crude oil consumption (approx. 6%). Despite all economic benefits, the corresponding polymeric wastes will account for 15 % of the global annual carbon budget by 2050, if the current situation continues. However, European Union (EU) has agreed on a strategy to meet the challenge via innovation as a crucial enabler for transforming the plastics value chain. Better management of waste, and in particular plastic waste, and innovative, circular technologies to increase the recycling rate of plastics directly addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), such as SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production, and SDG 13: Climate action. To change the current linear economy of plastics, e.g., Incineration, Mechanical recycling, rose hopes for what we called Circular economy. However, it lacks a clear roadmap toward reliable and environmentally friendly recovery and recycling technologies since it faces critical challenges, especially when it comes to processing a mixture of End of Life Plastics (impure feedstocks). Among chemical solutions, plastics conversion in near-critical water offers a unique opportunity to convert all types of plastics chemically. In chemical recycling, applying a suitable catalyst could substantially enhance selectivity toward naphtha/monomeric production and mitigate the high severity of HTP needed for the decomposition of recalcitrant polyolefins. All in favor of a more profitable process.

Along with a high conversion rate and adequate selectivity, the resulting product must be clean and free of hazardous materials particularly when heteroatom-containing polymers such as PVC are processed. EU also considered some limitations in this regard where chlorine concentration in waste-derived fuels should not surpass 0.1 % in Finland (class 1) and 1 % in Sweden. This project is formulated to meet the challenges mentioned above, from process optimization to the design and application of a highly active and resistant catalyst in near-critical water conditions and high-quality purification of the resulting products.

To this, the CATALEPTIC project will take advantage of the experiences and technical knowledge of all involved parties naming as Haldor Topsoe (3-month Secondment) and Technische Universität München (TUM), while the majority of practices will be carried out at Aalborg University (AAU) as the main host organization.