Research which could ultimately help cut energy bills and implement large-scale clean energy use is set to begin after winning Government innovation funding.

Experts at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be working with Advanced Infrastructure Technology Limited in Cambridge on the £380,000 Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) supported by Innovate UK.

THUMB energy

DMU’s expertise in data science and energy monitoring will be harnessed to help build detailed profiles of the energy system at different scales, from regions down to individual consumers.

By analysing data such as energy use, weather patterns, demographics, geography, energy consumption and the building stock, they hope to create models which can be used to support analysis and decision making to plan new green energy systems for areas across the UK. As part of the project, two postgraduate researchers will be employed as KTP associates to work on the project based at the company in Cambridge. One associate will work on modelling the energy system, the other on modelling energy demand from buildings.

Data visualisations produced by the project will help speed up the numbers of Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES) being created. These are cleaner, lower carbon alternatives to the current centralised grid system, which distributes gas and electricity to homes and other consumers.

Join the project:

Apply for the postgraduate associate in Building Physics Data Science

Apply for the postgraduate associate in Building Systems Modelling

The idea behind SLES is to create a series of localised networks using more low carbon energy. For example, wind and solar electricity can be used more effectively through demand management. Electric cars could return stored power to the local grid at times of high demand, reducing fossil fuel gas generation.

For SLEs to grow and multiply, energy network operators need access to data and analysis tools to help them plan future projects. This KTP will develop advanced data aggregation techniques that overcome the issues with problematic data sets that exist at the moment, along with manual

Andy Wright, Associate Professor in Building Energy Physics, said: “Our static, top-down energy supply systems are evolving into dynamic networks with energy and data flow in both directions, for example from rooftop solar systems, and smart meters. To make these work effectively, data and dynamic models are needed.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity, through this KTP, to be working on this with Advanced Infrastructure Technology Limited, ultimately to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.”

Darsheet Chauhan, Knowledge Exchange officer at DMU, said: “In order to achieve the targets of net zero, we need to think bigger and move from smaller, isolated projects to connected, transformational changes that impact the whole energy system.

“Making it easier to deliver greener energy systems will ultimately mean lower consumer costs as well as benefits for us all in helping the climate emergency. We are delighted to have been awarded the opportunity to work alongside our partners at Advanced Infrastructure Technology Limited to deliver a data system that could be a step change for the energy industry.”

Run by Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are project-based collaborations between universities and businesses created to help UK companies innovate and grow.

Projects are designed to address a specific challenge or business need and give companies access to academic expertise and a Government grant of up to two-thirds of the project cost.

It is the first time that DMU has won a KTP which will employ two associates. Recruitmentis underway to find postgraduates to fill the jobs, a building physics data scientist and energy systems modelling engineer.