Active Projects

Urban Energy Rhythms
Team: Patrick Agese, Dr Phil Coker, Dr Ben Potter
Partner: Costain
iCASE PhD funded by EPSRC & Costain

Through characterising the energy input / output behaviour of identifiable development types, this project is unlocking insights for infrastructure development as we move towards an increasingly smart and dynamic energy system. Developing a stable system requires an understanding of the patterns of energy users’ requirements, alongside the characteristics of potential flexibility assets. Complexity is increased when a variable energy supply is introduced, or eased when users’ requirements include a substantial discretionary component. Mixed use developments present outstanding opportunities for balancing supply and demand. This research combines statistical characterisation with simulation modelling at different levels of complexity to assess the opportunities for smarter infrastructure design, considering a wide range of supply, demand and flexibility assets.

Electric Vehicles’ Interaction with the Power Grid
Team: Dr Phil Coker, Dr Ben Potter, Anthony Simpson
Partner: DriveElectric (an EV leasing and smart charging services company)
Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership

This project explored the technical and commercial opportunities for controlled charging of an EV fleet to support stable operation of the electricity grid. Drivers’ individual circumstances will influence whether charging will tend to occur at home, at a workplace or at a public charging point and this constrains when power is drawn from the grid. Early experience with EV charging is showing something of a worst-case scenario for the power system. Many drivers connect their cars when arriving home from work and set them to charge immediately. The network challenges could be significantly mitigated by implementing controlled charging of EVs to avoid times when the power grid is at greatest strain. There are a range of incentives and mechanisms that could be introduced to achieve this, though considerable uncertainty as to which mechanisms will become widely adopted. The project helped DriveElectric to transform their business model in this area, paving the way for development of their CrowdCharge platform.

Understanding Peaks: REDPeAK and DEePRED
Principal Investigator: Professor Jacopo Torriti, University of Reading
Researcher: Dr Mate Janos Lorincz, REDPeAK
Researcher: Dr Timur Yunusov, DEePRED
EPSRC funded
Start and End Date: 1 February 2017 – 18 March 2022 

Understanding peaks in residential electricity demand will open new opportunities for flexible demand and Demand Side Response. Little is known about the effects of Time of Use (Time of Use) tariffs on different socio-demographic groups and how social practices construct residential demand profiles. Two projects have been awarded funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to understand the peaks in residential electricity peak demand.

REDPeAK (Residential Electricity Demand: Peaks, Sequences and Markov Chains) – the aim of REDPeAK is to understand which activities constitute peaks in residential electricity demand. In this project we investigate the role of synchronisation of activities and sequences of activities in shaping electricity demand.

DEePRED (Distributional Effects of Dynamic Pricing for Responsive Electricity Demand) – the overall aim of DEePRED is to analyse the distributional effects of Time of Use tariffs with a view to identify clusters of users which might significantly benefit or be disadvantaged through the provision of demand flexibility.

Transforming Electricity Access Through Smart Sensors and Grid Efficiency Algorithms
Principal Investigator: Dr Benjamin Potter, University of Reading
Co-Investigator: Dr Phil Coker, University of Reading
Postdoctoral Research Assistant: Julia Hoerner

Electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) in both developed and developing countries are facing significant challenges to address the energy trilemma- offering clean, affordable and secure energy. Increased demand for electricity coupled with the rapid shifting of supply to distributed generation requires DNOs to increase monitoring, analytics and optimisation in order to continue to provide a cost-effective service.

Instead of installing expensive legacy SCADA systems or making costly expansions to the network, OrxaGrid provides a smarter, lower cost alternative monitoring system for improving grid efficiency. OrxaGrid works on the principle of ‘Monitor, Analyse and Optimize’ by providing smart IoT sensors that are retrofitted on critical nodes of distribution electricity grids. Realtime monitored data is sent to the cloud via cellular/internet/LoRa for analytics. The research team at the University of Reading will analyse this data in order to determine trends and to develop both a forecast model and a classification engine that can both predict future substation energy use and also detect important events as they occur.

UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand – Flexibility
Principal Investigator: Professor Jacopo Torriti, University of Reading
Researcher: Dr Samuele Lo Piano, University of Reading
Researcher: Dr Jose Luis Ramirez-Mendiola, University of Reading
Standard Research
Start and End Date: 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2023

We refer to Flexibility as the capacity to use energy in different locations at different times of day or year (via storage or by changing the timing of activity); to switch fuels; to smooth or create peaks in demand or, in the case of mobility, to re-arrange destinations and journeys in ways that reduce energy demand and/or congestion.