PhD Position in Electric Power Engineering A Novel Modular HVDC Generator for Offshore Wind

Trondheim, Norway
09 Jun 2021
End of advertisement period
22 Jun 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Electric Power Engineering at NTNU has a vacancy for a full-time 100% position (3 years) as a PhD candidate within design of electrical machines – A Novel Modular HVDC Generator for Offshore Wind.

The PhD candidate will work alongside 2-3 other PhD candidates covering different aspects of the same topic. The PhD candidate will collaborate with researchers from Ghent University and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy that is among the leading offshore wind turbine manufacturers. 

The main supervisor for the PhD candidate is Associate Professor Pål Keim Olsen (NTNU). Co-supervisors are Professor Robert Nilssen (NTNU), Professor Hendrik Vansompel (UGhent) and Chief Engineer Erik Grøndahl (SGRE).

The prospective candidate will work in the research group Electric machines and Electromagnetics (EME).

You will report to Head of Department.

Duties of the position

Job description

The objective of the PhD education is to qualify for scientific research of high international standard. The PhD education has a nominal duration of three years of full-time study and includes required coursework or similar academic training comprising a minimum of 30 credits. The most important component of the PhD education is an independent scientific research project carried out under academic supervision, which results in the PhD thesis. The PhD degree is conferred based on these two elements and the doctoral examination, which consists of a trial lecture and a public defense of the scientific thesis.

The candidate is expected to fully complete the course work and the PhD thesis within the period of employment, which could be 3 or 4 years. The doctoral examination may take place after the period of employment. The option of 4-year employment would imply 1 year of duties as Teaching Assistant for the Department and may be offered to a candidate with clear motivation and ability for such work, if the Department sees the need. This will be clarified during and after any interview.

Project description

Offshore wind is set to be competitive with fossil fuels within the next decade. The International Energy Agency estimates in its Stated Policy Scenario from 2019 that levelized cost of energy (LCoE) from offshore wind will decrease 40% by 2030, transmission infrastructure accounting for one-third of the costs at that point. Currently, there is a trend towards locating offshore wind farms further from shore, increasing the transmission distance but also helping capacity factors reach 43%, increasing the energy yield of wind farms. Over long distances high voltage DC (HVDC) transmission can offer significant cost savings. Even at shorter distances from shore DC voltage systems show potential for capital cost saving and equipment, as well as lower transmission losses.

In this PhD project a compact and modular HVDC generator is seen as a feasible solution to higher energy efficiency and lower cost in offshore wind energy generation and distribution. By producing high DC voltage, above 100 kV, in the first conversion step the subsequent conversion steps are eliminated. In addition, the modular structure of the HVDC generator has in-built fault tolerance capability, potentially increasing the availability of the wind turbines.

The drastic reduction in conversion steps due to the use of the HVDC generator may help the market to meet its goals for reducing the cost of energy from renewable energy sources. The solution is particularly suited for wind and hydro energy systems, but may also have a broader field of use on the consumption side when the technology reaches full maturity. The concept may increase the benefits of HVDC power systems and make it feasible to replace parts of the HVAC system that is used today.

The challenges with the technology are multidisciplinary and ranges from electromechanical to thermal and high voltage insulation design of the generator modules, choice of module converter topology and optimum control strategies, as well as a protection system able to clear internal DC faults within the machine. The overall goal for the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of the HVDC generator to reduce LCoE in offshore wind, addressing the above challenges. The focus of this particular PhD study is the design of a high voltage, modular HVDC generator for offshore wind. The student may focus on one or more of the following tasks: 

  • Electromagnetic and thermal design of a modular synchronous PM machine with stator core modules at HVDC potentials. 
  • Electromechanical design of generator modules and fastening system.  
  • Integration of all or some of the above perspectives in a system-oriented design of machine and converter stack with concurrent design principles.

The technology will be validated in lab. The Department of Electrical Power Engineering at NTNU has invested in a 200 kW, high torque test rig to support experimental verification of the HVDC generator. 

Required selection criteria

The candidate should hold a Master’s degree in Electric Power Engineering with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Experience and a strong interest in design of electrical machines and working knowledge of power electronics are relevant to the chosen task. A record of scientific publications in international journals and conferences are merited. 

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and national guidelines for appointment to PhD, postdoctor and research assistant positions.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA

Other qualifications

Applicants must have very good English language skills, written and spoken. Applicants from non-English speaking countries outside EU/EEA/Switzerland must provide preliminary documentation of English language proficiency, in terms of an approved test. The following tests can be used: TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Further assessment of both written and oral English language skills and the ability to communicate fluently will be conducted in the continued selection process and during any interviews for all applicants.

Personal characteristics

In the evaluation of the candidates, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as personal motivation for the position, in terms of the qualification requirements specified above. We look for candidates who show clear signs of independence, original thinking and scientific mindset.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 482 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The employment contract is for three years; however, there is a possibility for extension up to four years if selected for assistantship.

Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Electrical Power Engineering. Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU

As a PhD candidate, you will have to successfully complete the PhD academic training programme; the training includes mandatory course work and other obligatory activities. Within the first three months of your employment, you must formally qualify for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. 

The Department of Electric Power Engineering works closely with key players in the Norwegian electricity supply sector, who manage critical infrastructure. A comprehensive risk assessment of the candidates' research interests and potential activities related to national threat assessments will therefore also form basis for the final selection of candidates.

About the application

The application must contain: 

  • A cover letter where the applicant describes his/her personal motivation and how he/she intends to fill the position and contributes to the research topic with his/her skills.
  • A draft research proposal specific to the PhD topic
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) which includes information about the candidate’s prior education, work experience, academic merits and any scientific publications.
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study programme and grading system.
  • The required documentation of English language proficiency.
  • Names and contact information of at least two references.

Emphasis will be placed on the quality of the cover letter and the ideas and/or originality of the draft research proposal in shortlisting of candidates. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

In the final assessment of the candidates, strategic considerations at the Department Electric Power Engineering will also be taken into account. We aim for better gender balance, and when qualifications are approximately equal among qualified candidates, female applicants will be preferred.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

According to the Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Associate Professor Pål Keim Olsen,

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

Application deadline: 22.06.2021

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Electric Power Engineering

The Department of Electric Power Engineering is one of the seven departments at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Our department is Norway’s leading in the field, and our vision is to be at the centre of the digital, green shift. We have excellent collaboration with business and industry as well as other universities and research organizations internationally. This gives us outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary research with high relevance for the society, addressing industrial needs and global challenges.

Deadline 22nd June 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Campus Gløshaugen

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