Coordinating Smart Hybrid Distribution Transformers to Support Local Clean Energy Systems

The Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh invites applications for an industry funded PhD studentship for the project “Coordinating Smart Hybrid Distribution Transformers to Support Local Clean Energy Systems”. The project is a collaboration with IONATE, a Scottish start-up with a new patented smart hybrid distribution transformer design that provides flexibility at a lower cost than existing alternatives. The PhD will investigate how these devices can be coordinated at scale to improve system reliability and security, increase the hosting capacity for renewable generation, electric vehicles and electric heating, and reduce energy bills for consumers.

The aim of the project will be to answer the research question, “What value could be created if smart hybrid distribution transformers were scaled out across the power system?” The main objectives will be to:

  1. Develop high fidelity models for the IONATE hybrid distribution transformer suitable for detailed power system simulation, as well as reduced order models suitable for control
  2. Design and test novel distributed control strategies to integrate hybrid distribution transformers into smart local energy system operation
  3. Develop a novel integrated design framework for smart local energy systems, that incorporates the topology selection, sizing and placement of hybrid distribution transformers
  4. Conduct a national scale simulation study to assess the overall value hybrid distribution transformers could offer the power system

The student will be based within the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh. The student will benefit from the opportunity to interact with leading academics across related research areas including power systems, power electronics, energy policy and offshore renewable energy. In addition, the University of Edinburgh hosts the ARCHER supercomputer, which provides the capability for large-scale power system simulations. Close cooperation during the project with IONATE will allow the student to gain experience working with industrial engineering practices, whilst delivering research that has a strong potential for commercial implementation and delivering real world benefits.

*A condition of the studentship is that the student must be registered by the 31st of March 2021.*

*Please note that this position may be closed early if a suitable candidate is identified.*

Further Information: 

Successful candidates will join the Institute for Energy Systems within the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. The institute has links with industry partners across the UK energy sector as well as leading energy system researchers from multiple disciplines through projects such as “EnergyREV – Market Design for Scaling Up Local Clean Energy Systems”, which is being completed as part of the UK’s £100m Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge initiative.
Interested applicants are welcome to contact Dr Thomas Morstyn by email for additional information ( Applications should be submitted via the University’s online system.
The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 

Dr Jin Yang (University of Glasgow)


It is expected that candidates will have a first-class (or expected first-class) bachelors or master’s level degree in a relevant discipline, such as electrical engineering, computer science or applied mathematics.
Experience in one or more of the following areas is highly desirable:
•    Power system design and control.
•    Power electronics.
•    Optimisation, control systems and/or machine learning.
•    Programming using languages such as Python, MATLAB or Julia.
•    Relevant industry or research experience.

Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Tuition fees and stipend are available for Home/EU students (International students can apply, however the funding only covers the Home fee rate).

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: