HyE-SmartV: Contribution to electric energy generation for isolated rural areas using second life components and renewable energies: modeling and control of an excited induction machine+pico-hydro turbine and a PV generator, supervision with smartphone
Doctorate Full Doctorate, Doctoral program
Host institution
INP - Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse
Doctoral school
Electric engineering, electronics and telecommunications (GEET) - ED 323


Frugal innovation is at the heart of this project to electrify isolated villages for developing countries using recycled materials and renewable energies. Together with a fight against climate change, societal objectives of development, health and education are also targeted. We want to offer local solutions with local materials for and with people on site. After the photovoltaic chain, its proposed in this new project, to innovate also on the electro-hydraulic chain. The project tackles several scientific obstacles such as: • the modeling and the optimal control of a three-phase asynchronous machine transformed into a single-phase generator with new degrees of freedom, • its parameter identification in this new configuration, • the optimal design of hydraulic waterwheels with recovery materials and the adaptation of their behavior (torque, speed) to local settings, • the optimal design of the working curve discharge-power-rotation speed which has to be well defined for an efficient coupling with the induction machine, • with second life performant turbine, the design of algorithms on smartphones for measuring quantities of characterization and optimal adjustment, and everything with reused or raw material, quite few information on the system, low computation resource available, as few sensors as possible in order to design a very low cost system, easy to build and maintain. What a challenge !


Context and Motivation


The increasing energy consumption and the scarcity of resources make energy a major geopolitical issue of the 21st century. Renewable energy production systems for the electrification of isolated villages is also a way to achieve several objectives of economic development, health and education. In many remote areas in developing countries, poor people don’t have access to the grid. They use batteries, diesels, candles for lighting, TV and other appliances. This research aims to desing simple systems based on solar and pico-hydro generation with high quality of electrical supply. An original solution is proposed in this thesis by using wasted electric equipment. This is frugal innovation, « jugaad » to serve the bottom of the social pyramid or in other words, local solutions for local people. A pico-hydroelectric plant and a photovoltaic generator are a relevant solutions with relatively easy local production and processing, for low power uses. Solutions of rich countries consists in using new and dedicated components ("solar" batteries, synchronous generators with rare earth magnets). They reduce the long-term ecological footprint of energy production compared to fossil fuels, but it is possible to go further. Among the equipment widely used in developing countries, PC power supplies, induction motors, lead-acid automotive batteries, take their part. Besides, pico-hydroelectricity is a good solution because it needs few technical knowledge and efficiency is almost constant with discharge. Moreover they can be coupled and improve other water usages such as maintaining level for irrigation and water supply. The use of local components will facilitate the appropriation of the solutions by the local population and ease maintenance. In a nutshell, development of local solutions with local materials with and for local people.


Scientific Objectives


The rural electrification in a “jugaad” approach is declined in several scientific objectives: • Modeling of the three-phase asynchronous machine to transform it into a single-phase generator and define its optimal control. This is innovative because modeling does not exist in one of the chosen power modes (2 separate excitation windings), no comparative study of the control modes exist and the particular supply option which is chose may use the 3 degrees of freedom (2 voltage amplitude and one phase delay) for the optimal control of the generator, • Understand how an old electric machine must be modified (deep inside its structure) with simple local tools in order to inscrease its natural stability zone inside torque vs speed characteristic without a large increase of the losses, • Optimal design of waterwalls and waterwheels from recovery materials. It includes performance analysis for different machine technologies and variable flow ranges, an innovative determination the best trade-off between yield, feasibility, river adaptation and environmental impact in the context of isolated villages and low falls, • Understanding the interaction between a rotating solid structure (blade) with the free water surface. Then the energy loss associated will explain the mechanical power extracted. The best numerical modelling will be evaluated. A theoretical behavior will be developed to be suitable for a large range of application concerning hydroelectricity production • Designing the method for online identification of the electric machine parameters and of the 2 life static power converter, without any preliminary data • Designing algorithms on smartphones for the measurement of interesting quantities for the characterization and the optimal adjustment of these systems (speed, flow). Smartphones will make "smart" energy solutions jugaad project in isolated villages, nothing currently exists.


Methodology and Planning


The first part of this thesis will be devoted to improve the state-space modelling of the three-phase induction machine as a single phase induction generator under special excitation modes. Several operation points must be caracterized in terms of torque, speed, power, losses, current, voltage… A fine modelling of the induction machine must be achieved in the second part thanks to finite element software. A particular attention will be paid to the losses and to the couplings between the torque vs speed characteristic (and its stability zone) and the geometrical parameters of the machine. The third part of this thesis will deal with control: control of the output voltage/current for different types of loads (linear and non-linear loads) and control of the static converters for the optimal operation (Maximum Power Point Tracking) of the association of a re-used pico-hydro turbine, an induction generator and a PV generator. Different types of controllers will be tested on a test bench with the dSPACE/MATLAB Simulink environment and on a more realistic platform such as an Arduino micro controller. Finally, a smartphone will be used for some remote control, parameter settings and some periodic variable measurements. The objective of the last part of the thesis is to adapt the water wheel behavior (torque, speed) to local setting. Indeed the waterwheel performance is almost known in perfect configuration (concrete channel, regulated upstream water level, etc) but they can be very different for wheel from wasted material and low cost building. Even with second life performant turbine, the working curve discharge-power-rotation speed has to be well defined for an efficient coupling with the induction machine. The student will work mostly in LAPLACE for the electric part and mostly in IMFT for the hydraulic part, both places are in Toulouse downtown. The deliverables of the Hy-SMARTV project are: • joint publications in international journals and international conferences, • the availability on a website with free access of the results of solar measurements made in Cambodia and Vietnam for several different periods of the year, • prototypes of hydraulic wheels made of raw or second use materials with their characterization curves, • an algorithm for measuring electric machine speed and water flow on a smartphone.

Skills required

We are seeking for a talented top young researcher with a master in energy domain, having possibliy a conference paper under review, experienced in electrical enginnering and physics, with strong communication abillities in written and spoken English. French will be a bonus.

Your profile is eligible to apply for the PhD/Doctorate program "Make Our Planet Great Again" if:

- You have a Master's degree or you will pass a Master's degree before August 31, 2018
- You have lived in France for less than 90 days since April 1, 2016
- You are exclusively a foreign national

How to APPLY?

Please send your CV and a letter of motivation to the following contact :


Rural electrification Reuse components Waterwheels Control Modelling Smarphones

Funded offer

Funding type
Contrat Doctoral
Funding amount
1350 € Net / month


Application deadline 04/05/18

Duration36 months

Start date01/09/18

Creation date06/04/18


Level of french requiredNone

Level of English requiredB2 (upper-intermediate)

Opportunity to make his thesis in English


Annual tuition fee400 € / year


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