Accepted Horizon 2020 project ‘DCSMART’ will lead us into the next age of electricity infrastructure

News - 12 February 2016

Interdisciplinary research project DC Distribution Smart Grids (DCSMART) has been accepted as a project within the European Research Area Network (ERANET) Horizon 2020 programme. With ERANET’s support, DCSMART is able to appoint three PhD candidates and two post-doc researchers at TU Delft and one PhD candidate at TU Eindhoven. The project aims to resolve certain challenges to enable straightforward integration of dc distribution smart grid system technologies.

Current challenges

Today’s electrical power system is continually undergoing modernisation but there are many challenges facing us along the way. There has been a sharp increase in the use of distributed energy resources (DER), which are smaller power sources such as solar panels and wind turbines that can be combined to provide power on demand. However, the performance of DERs tends to be unpredictable. Deploying advanced renewable energy technologies can facilitate the transition to a smarter grid. This will require complex means of integration with the existing power system. Whereas traditionally the energy distribution grid operated on alternating current (AC), nowadays most devices operate using direct current (DC). The majority of DERs, including solar and wind power, generate DC power and storage components such as batteries and supercapacitors cater for this type of power.

Integrating DC smart grid technologies

DC distribution grids have the potential to facilitate smart grid applications in a more straightforward way. DC sources and loads could be connected to a DC bus directly, eliminating the need for DC/AC or AC/DC conversions. DCSMART is an interdisciplinary project that aims to enable a straightforward integration of smart grid technologies, create market opportunities, and promote stakeholder adoption by developing and implementing DC distribution smart grids. The project comprises several innovative elements, ranging from the development of smart grid-enabling components to the design of new smart market mechanisms. The DC distribution smart grids will be based on modular and scalable concepts and tested at two demonstration sites, one in the Netherlands and one in Switzerland.

DCSMART project partners include Direct Current BV (Harry Stokman), the Fraunhofer Society (Bernd Wunder), the Centre Suisse d’Electronique et Microtechnique SA (Pierre-Jean Ale), supported by more PhD positions in Germany and  Switzerland.


About Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest research and innovation programme to date, making nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020), in addition to private investments that this funding attracts. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by realising great ideas from the lab and bringing them to the market. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. Read more about the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovationhere.

Note to editors

For more information, please contact:


Dr. Pavol Bauer, hoofd van DC Systems, Energy Conversion & Storage, tel. +31 (0)15 2784654, e-mail:
Dr. Laura Ramirez Elizondo, DC Systems, Energy Conversion & Storage, tel. + 31 (0) 15 2781848, e-mail:
Ernst Harting, projectmanager, tel. + 31 (0) 15 2784279, e-mail: 
Lonneke Klijnsmit, Communicatiemanager, tel. +31 (0)6 43468353, e-mail:


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