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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001670/1
Title: FlexTECC: Flexible Timing of Energy Consumption in Communities
Principal Investigator: Howard, Dr B
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Jake Woodhouse Trend Control Systems Ltd
Department: Civil and Building Engineering
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 01 June 2018 Ends: 31 May 2021 Value (£): 496,477
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 3 - 8 and 9 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
To meet national greenhouse gas emissions targets and ensure our energy security, our energy system needs to undergo a radical transformation. We need to enhance the energy efficiency of the buildings stock, invent new methods to secure low carbon power, and develop ways of providing low carbon heat. Further, incorporating demand flexibility, where homes and workplaces modify their consumption at opportune moments, can reduce overall energy demand, increase the efficiency of grid operations, minimise the use of high carbon generators and increase the uptake of renewable energy sources. The optimal use of demand response can contribute 40 billion pounds in efficiency savings to the electricity grid. This potential has yet to be achieved, however, as it requires a re-envisioning of the energy system and new developments in building system intelligence.

This innovation fellowship aims to jump start this transformation by developing new techniques to enable buildings to operate efficiently and provide services to the broader energy system. The FlexTECC control strategy will use a decentralised model predictive control framework to imbue buildings with the capability to minimise their own energy consumption but also offer their flexibility to an aggregator that can maximise the collective revenue. The decentralised approach is needed to minimise the problem complexity, provide autonomy to individual buildings and to enable a liberalised flexibility market. To realise the FlexTECC control strategy, three challenges must be overcome.

The first is the challenge of perspective. Small energy consumers, such as homes and work places, are not perceived as capable of providing balancing services to the grid, due to their small size. Therefore control algorithms to supervise the collective actions of building energy systems under this paradigm do not exist, and need to be developed. The second challenge is that of implementation. The easiest pathway to ensure widespread use of the FlexTECC strategy is to develop its intelligence with existing hardware and communication protocols. Through collaboration with a nationally recognised building controls company, the FlexTECC controller architecture will be developed and experimentally validated using a large commercially operated building and two of the Loughborough University test homes. The third challenge is that of market potential. Different communities will result in different aggregations of building demands and therefore different flexibility offerings. Further, those offerings will garner different revenue potential depending on which market or markets are leveraged. To overcome this challenge a series of simulation studies will be undertaken to understand the revenue potential from different types of communities participating in various energy markets.

The three-year fellowship will result in a tested and experimentally validated control algorithm that can minimise the energy consumption of an individual building but also provide energy services to the grid. Further, the market potential will also be assessed, providing knowledge to future aggregators on how to select buildings and energy markets that will maximise the overall revenue. The new field of decentralised control of urban energy systems, required to achieve these aims, will be brought to the forefront through an academic summit. Regulatory hurdles preventing the full implementation of flexible systems will be highlighted through an industry focused workshop on Flexible Cities. This robust research and engagement plan will lead to high impact research outcomes and begin the dynamic transformation of our energy system.

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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk