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Outstanding results by INESC TEC in the REN Award

The top three places were awarded to the theses developed by researchers at INESC TEC’s Centre for Power and Energy Systems (CPES).

02nd December 2020

This year’s edition of the REN Award was a celebration with INESC TEC’s insignia. João Graça Ramos, João Megre Barbosa and Luís Brito Teixeira won the first, second and third places of the competition, respectively, thanks to their Master’s theses.

João Graça Ramos, INESC TEC researcher, got the first place with the thesis “Conversion of photovoltaic energy with synthetic inertia”, with Rui Esteves Araújo as supervisor. The work, carried out at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, focused on the implementation of a synthetic inertia solution in a photovoltaic inverter. The main idea was using a specific amount of the energy stored in the DC Link capacitor, which already exists in these converters, to emulate the inertia behaviour of the converter. This low-cost and highly effective method contributes to improving the frequency stability of the energy system and even protecting consumers from potential loss of power.

The second place was awarded to João Megre Barbosa – who had already won the APREN award -, acting as a double recognition for the thesis “Fast Assessment of Dynamic Behavior Analysis with Evaluation of Minimum Synchronous Inertia to Improve Dynamic Security in Islanded Power Systems”, developed within the scope of an internship at INESC TEC. The thesis, supervised by João Peças Lopes and Bernardo Silva, focused on analysing the needs for synchronous inertia in islanded networks with a large volume of production from renewable energy sources, namely those resorting to electronic converters for their connection to the grid e.g., wind and solar photovoltaic production. The researcher’s work presents a methodology to mobilise synchronous compensators, in order to provide an inertia service to the system when it is not possible to verify the minimum inertia limits, thus ensuring the necessary dynamic security to the network.

The thesis “Miss SAIGON – Missing Signal Appraising in Globally Optimized Networks” earned Luís Brito Teixeira the third place. Supervised by Vladimiro Miranda, within the scope of an internship at INESC TEC, the researcher analysed the creation of a new topology processor based on the conversion of information available from the electrical network into a 2D image, capable of being interpreted by convolutional neural networks. This processor is capable of effectively determining the connectivity of a line or substation using only external information as a resource, being a useful and informative tool in the knowledge and operation of the energy grid.

The Integrated Master in Electrical and Computer Engineering at FEUP was also acknowledged, since the three theses awarded were developed within its scope.

Created in 1995, the REN Award is one of the oldest scientific awards in Portugal. It is granted by a jury composed of renowned professionals, who select the best Master’s (annually) and PhD (biannually) theses in the field of energy, developed in Portuguese universities.

The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC.