I was initially attracted to this role because of the possibility to actively contribute to the “energy debate” and to carry out research that could change the way we use and even understand energy.
I chose the University of Manchester because of the prestige of the University of Manchester and of the Electrical Energy and Power Systems Group in particular, which is world-renowned for over 50 years.
My main research is on “multi-energy systems” (MES), that is, a system-of-systems where different sectors and networks such as electricity, heat, cooling, fuels, transport, water, and so on, optimally interact with each other. This topic is particularly relevant in urban areas where manifold networks interact closely within districts and cities, with the potential to develop “Smart Communities” and “Smart Cities”. Within the “energy debate”, my research integrates the electrical “Smart Grid” research that aims at decarbonising and improving the power system sector, and could somehow be seen as the “Smart Grid beyond electricity”: the final aim is in fact to decarbonise the whole energy sector, and in particular heat and transport besides electricity. In this context, I try to cover manifold perspectives of what I envisage will become the smart integrated network infrastructure of the future, including system-of-systems modelling, operational optimization, optimal planning and investment, development of new business cases, environmental analysis, and risk, reliability and resilience assessment.
On a day to day basis, I attend meetings with researchers and project partners in Manchester, UK, and abroad; supervise research and undergraduate students; write research reports and publications; lecture or prepare lectures andmark exams/coursework. I carry out administrative duties which include meetings and interactions with other members of staff and students. I especially enjoy being at the centre of a fast changing energy world and to be able to actively contribute to changing it!
I am involved in many UK and European projects with colleagues from other departments of the University, other institutions, and various companies. Project meetings and conferences are always a good opportunity to showcase my work, and I also try to exploit invited lectures and visiting positions (for instance, I’m a Visiting Professor at the Ecole Centrale de Lille, France) to spread my research. Industrial projects are also a good way to improve research visibility, particularly if the research can have a practical impact on industry, regulation and even energy policy.
My hope is that my research could contribute to changing the way we use and even understand energy, particularly in the light of passing from an energy system where sectors are mostly operated and planned in “silos” to an integrated smarter energy system where multiple sectors actively interact through advanced monitoring and control technologies as well as suitable market arrangements.
I believe that a real ‘game-changer’ would come from better understand how a “decentralised” multi-energy system with interactions of multiple actors and energy vectors can optimally interact with the classical “centralised” energy system where the different energy sector components are mostly planned and operated separately.