Adrien Saint-Pierre

PhD student, Power Systems

Adrien Saint-Pierre

Access to energy is crucial to our society and its implication goes way beyond engineering.

Background

I did my first degree in France where I studied Electrical Engineering and I specialised in Power System Economics for my Master’s in the US, where I started a research activity.  In a taught degree you learn the solution to problems, in a research degree you learn to identify them and try to propose your own solutions. Therefore, I figured out that I wanted to pursue my studies at doctoral level.   

Choosing where to do a PhD is a matter of both staff and institution. I wanted to work with people in this group and the worldwide reputation of the University of Manchester made it a clear first choice. 

Research

The purpose of my research is to bring together multi-energy systems modelling and investment under uncertainty.  I am trying to understand how multi-energy systems can enable a more efficient, more sustainable, and more affordable delivery of energy services.

For my research activity, I alternate between phases of documentation, development, and analysis. Research is my main occupation, I am also involved in different activities such as teaching labs, mentoring MSc students during their dissertation, or organising events with the IEEE Student Branch Power Energy Society Chapter.   I enjoy the inherent intellectual freedom in research. We benefit from a different time scale than industry and it gives us the means to explore different ideas. For instance, a wrong intuition does not lead to a failure but to a valuable result, this is very rewarding.

I frequently have the opportunity to present my research at conferences, workshops or during project meetings. Working in the energy field involves interacting with a wide spectrum of people and you get to learn a lot through interfacing with peers from different disciplines. For instance, I participated in a workshop at the Royal Academy of Engineering; this is the kind of opportunity that only few other institutions can offer.

Future

I believe the real ‘game changer’ will be the move from separate commodities organisation to a global multi-energy thinking.  Access to energy is crucial to our society and its implication goes way beyond engineering.  For instance, integration of renewables clearly demonstrates a will to stop treating ecology simply as an externality. I guess this is going in the right direction.

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