Every year, renewable energy consultants DNV GL offer PhD students from across the globe the chance to enter the “DNV GL PhD Award in Renewable Energy and Grid Integration” competition. The competition and prize was first initiated in 2012 to support research and development, education, the creation of new knowledge, and encourage the development of advanced technology and processes for renewable energy.
Today, the competition covers themes of renewables, grid integration, innovation, and reducing the cost of energy. Participants can enter their thesis, with the winner receiving a €5,000 cash prize. This year, that honor went to Dr. Bernhard Brand.
Brand’s winning thesis is titled, “The integration of renewable energy into North African electricity systems,” and it explores how an increasing penetration of renewable technologies – notably wind, photovoltaic (PV), and concentrated solar power (CSP) can be efficiently handled by North African electricity grids. The thesis is largely built around a linear optimization model, calculating cost-minimized expansion pathways for different mid-term scenarios for North African electricity systems.
The results allow conclusions to be reached about cost-optimized power-plant portfolios, the commissioning and retirements of power plants, and projections for optimized transmission networks in North Africa to accommodate larger quantities of renewable electricity.
“I am honored to receive this award and to share my findings,” said Brand. “I believe these will help planners and decision-makers working on the region’s renewable energy future look at innovative planning tools and models for the successful integration of renewable energy on a macro-scale over longer time horizons.”
He added: “North Africa is endowed with abundant, but largely unexploited, renewable energy resources. A few years ago, the announcement of the ‘Desertec’ concept, the idea of tapping the region’s wind and solar potential for European electricity supply, triggered a number of studies on how North Africa could realize a higher renewable power export potential. Less attention, however, was paid to the subject of renewable integration into the existing domestic power systems to satisfy local demand.”
Lucy Craig, Director of Technology & Innovation at DNV GL Energy commented: “In this thesis, Dr. Brand outlines a number of key innovation and technical issues that DNV GL has also been focusing on strategically such as electrification in Africa and improved integration of renewables into grids. Not only are these issues important for development on the continent itself but also ensuring we maximize the potential of renewable energy and its impact on climate change.”
Bernhard Brand holds a diploma in physics of the University of Heidelberg. Prior to his PhD thesis, he worked as consultant for various renewable energy projects, mostly in the Middle East and North Africa. His research affiliations were the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne, the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment & Energy, and the University of Utrecht.
Learn more about DNV GL’s PhD Award here.
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