This months talk is from Prof. Robert J. Howlett with talk entitled "Smart Energy Systems for a Low Carbon Future"
Carbon reduction is a key driver of policy in many countries and sets the agenda for many areas of research and technological developments. Electrical power systems are in the midst of huge changes as a range of new technologies comes into play in pursuit of the twin objectives of reduced carbon emissions and improved energy efficiency. Principally these are reduced-cost renewables and battery storage linked to technological developments in heat pumps, together with important underpinning technologies including artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT) and high power computing. Historically, the electric power grid was based on centralised power stations and long cables transmitting power to users. An infrastructure based around self-contained sections of grid linking energy generation and distribution, known as 'microgrids' allows power to be consumed close to the point of generation and better suit future developments. Equipping the micro-grid with networked sensors to monitor generation and demand at various points provides data whereby artificial intelligence algorithms in a 'smart microgrid' could help ensure optimum efficiency of energy use. A key use of energy is for space heating and cooling and water heating in domestic, office and industrial buildings. Integrated energy systems combine an electrical micro-grid with a heat based equivalent in the form of a warm water loop that buildings can extract heat from, and dump surplus heat to in order to achieve cooling. The talk will describe integrated energy systems and the way in which control and forecasting problems in these can benefit from smart systems technology followed by several application areas.