2024 Special Innovation Thesis Prize and SER Thesis Prize: Lucas RICHARD

Headlines, Research
Lucas RICHARD received the 2024 special Innovation Thesis Prize and Social and Environmental Thesis Prize for his research work among PhDs graduating in 2023.

Thesis Title: DC solar microgrids with decentralized production and storage for the Lateral Electrification of rural Africa

Lucas RICHARD, lauréat du prix de thèse innovation et RSE 2024Nowadays, more than 770 million people lack access to electricity worldwide despite the clear harmful consequences on socio-economic development. The vast majority of these unelectrified communities reside in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, far from any national grid infrastructures and with little hope to be connected in a near future.Nanoé, a French-Malagasy social company created in 2017, develops and experiments a new Lateral Electrification model, based on the progressive and collaborative building of smart power infrastructures in a bottom-up manner through renewable energies, digital technologies and local entrepreneurship. This thesis has focused on the inherent research problematics of the progressive approach proposed by Nanoé. In particular, the development of DC microgrids with decentralized production and storage has been carried out from the lab to the field.The proposed microgrid aims at interconnecting basic smart power units, gathering solar power production, storage and distribution within an autonomous and collective DC power system, named nanogrid, delivering power to four to six households. The structure, the power electronic converters needed to operate the microgrid and its associated control algorithm have been designed to offer modularity and scalability while achieving a high level of reliability. A village-wide microgrid has then been installed in Ambohimena, a typical village of the North of Madagascar, interconnecting 24 nanogrids and offering productive use of energy services. This successful deployment is an important milestone for Nanoé as it proves the technical feasibility of its Lateral Electrification model.

Key Words: Africa, electricity – production, DC microgrid, lateral electrification, decentralized control, field deployment

Doctoral School: ED EEATS - Electronics, Electrical Energy, Automatic Control, Signal Processing
Research laboratory: Laboratoire de Génie Electrique (G2Elab - CNRS/UGA/Grenoble INP-UGA)
Thesis supervision: Bertrand RAISON, David FREY and Marie-Cécile ALVAREZ-HERAULT

> To find out about all the 2024 thesis prizes
Updated on  May 30, 2024