Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

ELECTA - Electrical energy & computer architectures

KU Leuven is founded in 1425. The research group ELECTA (Electrical Energy and Computer Architectures) is part of the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) of the Faculty of Engineering. ESAT-ELECTA specialises in electric energy and robust industrial control systems, esp. smart grids. The research activities cover a wide spectrum from power systems to power quality and power electronics to control, dependable information infrastructures, and socio-economic issues. The main research topics include: power system operation and control; connection of distributed energy resources; Smart Grids; power electronic components and systems; robust, distributed control systems; power system economics; and electromagnetic processing of materials. 

The research group ELECTA has 5 full-time professors, 10 part-time professors, 8 post-doctoral researchers, 12 administrative and technical persons, 50+ PhD students, and approximately 15 affiliated researchers. Together with VITO, KU Leuven has set up EnergyVille (www.energyville.be), a top-in-the-field European research centre for energy for sustainable cities. 

It is specialised in the design and development of smart grid controllers, and distributed intelligence, its robustness and security. Together with its partners in EnergyVille, KU Leuven has build a strong international reputation in the field of demand response in a smart grids context, both at an experimental and an algorithmic level. 

In the project SMILE-IT, we are responsible for designing suited solutions for the application domain of smart grids: The overall project’s goals is to develop a MARL framework, and to apply it to different application domains (telecom, smart grids, traffic, …). Our specific research questions include dealing with uncertainty, learning over large periods of time, self-healing and robustness. Our researcher will drive the evaluation of the developed MARL framework from a smart grids point of view, by setting requirements, developing optimization strategies, increasing robustness through self-healing mechanism, implementing learning techniques, and driving valorisation for the smart grids case.


The researcher will be a KU Leuven PhD student (Engineering Science), and work as part of EnergyVille’s AMO research team (algorithms, modelling and optimisation) in Leuven and Genk. EnergyVille is a knowledge centre, focused on sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. It combines the strengths and expertise of its partners, KU Leuven, VITO and imec with the aim of reaching the top 5 in innovative energy research in Europe. In 2015 EnergyVille will move to its newly created location on the former mine site of Waterschei, Genk.


Key people involved: 

Prof. Dr. ir. Geert Deconinck is full professor at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium). He performs research on the design of dependable system architectures for industrial automation and control, specifically in the context of smart electric distribution networks. In this field, he has authored and co-authored more than 350 publications in international journals and conference proceedings. He authored 4 books and edited 2 more. He has been principle investigator in projects, worth over 8 M€ budget in the last 5 years. (BOF-GOA, Hercules, European FP3,4,5,6,7,8 projects, IWT, FWO, NGInfra, COST, BELSPO, bilateral with industry, etc.). Up to May 2014, he has been supervisor for 19 successful PhD, and is currently supervisor or co-supervisor of 15 PhD students. Since April 2012, he is head of the research group ELECTA (Electrical Energy and Computing Architectures) at the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT). In EnergyVille, he is scientific leader for the research domain ‘algorithms, modelling, optimisation’, applied to smart electrical and thermal networks. He is a member of the Royal Flemish Engineering Society, a fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and a senior member of the IEEE. 


Relevant publications 

· S. Vandael, B. Claessens, M. Hommelberg, T. Holvoet, G. Deconinck, "A scalable three-step approach for demand side management of plug-in hybrid vehicles," IEEE Trans. on Smart Grids, Vol. 4, Issue 2, June 2013, pp. 720-728. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TSG.2012.2213847 

· K. De Craemer, S. Vandael, B. Claessens, G. Deconinck, "An Event-Driven Dual-Coordination Mechanism for Demand Side Management of PHEVs," IEEE Trans. on Smart Grids, Vol. 5, Issue 2, March 2014, pp. 751-760. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TSG.2013.2272197 

· W. Labeeuw, G. Deconinck, "Residential Electrical Load Model based on Mixture Model Clustering and Markov Models," IEEE Trans. on Industrial Informatics, Vol. 9, No. 3, Aug. 2013, pp. 1561-1569. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TII.2013.2240309 


Relevant previous projects 

Over the years, the ELECTA research group has obtained a great deal of experience with projects for industry as well as European, Flemish, and Belgian authorities, such as: 

· EIT-KIC InnoEnergy (Knowledge & Innovation Community of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology), with focus on “Intelligent Energy Efficient Buildings and Cities”. K.U. Leuven/ELECTA is proud to be the only Belgian university selected to participate in the EIT programmes. 

· European projects: CRUTIAL (FP6 STREP IST-4-27513) Critical UTility InfrastructurAL resilience, GRID (FP6 CA IST-4-026923) ICT vulnerabilities of power systems and the relevant defence methodologies, FP7-SEESGEN-ICT: Supporting Energy Efficiency in Smart GENeration grids through ICT, FP7-OPTIMATE: Open Platform to Test Integration in new MArkeT designs of massive intermittent Energy sources dispersed in several regional power markets, etc. 

· Regional projects: LINEAR Local Intelligent Networks and Energy-Active Regions, NGinfra. 

· Competitive university projects: GOA Fundamental study of a CO2-emission-free society.