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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI)

Durham Teams

Professor Jon Gluyas (Earth Sciences & DEI Executive Director) - Durham lead

Professor Simon Hogg (Engineering) - Energy Supply Workpackage Lead

Dr Behzad Kazemtabrizi & Carlos Ferrandon Cervantes (PhD Student) (Engineering)

Professor Simone Abram and Dr Antti Silvast (Anthropology)

Professor Tooraj Jamasb and Dr Manual Llorca (Business School)

Professor Michael Goldstein, Dr Matthias Troffaes and Dr Hailiang Du (Mathematical Sciences)

Research Partners

Newcastle University - CESI lead

Durham University

Heriot-Watt

University of Edinburgh

University of Sussex

Industry and Sector Partners

Siemens - CESI Lead Industrial Partner; Orsted; Jaguar Landrover; Ofgem; UKERC; Energy Systems Catapult; Northern Gas Networks; Northern Powergrid; Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks; SP Energynetworks; Gentoo; National Grid; Centrica; RedT Energy Storage; Durham County Council; Newcastle City Council.

Project Background

Durham University is part of the new £20m EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) which is exploring ways of improving energy efficiency, reducing customers’ bills and lowering carbon emissions.

Bringing together energy experts from around the world to help unravel the energy network and understand future supply and demand.

The centre is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and Siemens and is led by Newcastle University.

As the availability of fossil fuels declines and traditional energy structures become obsolete, it is essential we develop new energy sources that can also help counter the threat of climate change, as well as building smarter, flexible and integrated energy systems. Durham’s experts are at the forefront of developing these new energy solutions, which has been further enhanced by the University’s role in CESI.

Looking for the first time at the energy system as a whole; gas, power, renewables, heating and cooling, the centre will pave the way to a flexible smart infrastructure, empowering customers and giving them greater control of their energy use while allowing industry to meet the tough new low carbon targets. Bridging a pivotal gap in our drive towards a fully integrated, smart energy network, the centre is crucial to improving energy efficiency, driving down customer bills and reducing carbon emissions.

Under the umbrella of Durham Energy Institute, researchers from Durham University’s departments of Anthropology, Earth Sciences and Mathematical Sciences, as well the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences and Durham University Business School, all play a role in the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration.

The UK, along with all advanced industrial and post-industrial countries needs to transform its energy flows, move away from carbon-producing fossil sources, and adapt to new technologies like electric vehicles and new kinds of energy storage. Durham Energy Institute’s experience of interdisciplinary research is key to the new centre’s goals - to enable the UK energy system to be transformed into a renewable system that serves diverse users of the future in ways that are just and sustainable.

Our expertise in conventional and unconventional energy generation, in smart grids, in the sociology of science and anthropology of energy will be crucial to the centre’s aim of drawing together diverse knowledge and expertise to integrate energy systems.

Existing expertise at Durham University in energy sources & systems

Durham’s contribution to the centre will build on a range of existing research expertise at the university including:

  • Recent research into the use of waste industrial heat and natural geothermal heat that could provide warmth to UK homes for 100 years and cut carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent. Durham also co-founded and manages the BritGeothermal national research body for developing geothermal energy systems in the UK.
  • Work to assess how scientists involved in energy systems integration develop their ideas, looking at the social and ethical aspects of energy systems, including customer energy practices and options. Durham led on the social research undertaken in the Customer Led Network Revolution project which included one of the largest trials of customer energy practices ever undertaken in the UK and explored energy usage patterns and options for developing a smarter power grid which can cope with new demands on the current electricity network.
  • Identifying options for increasing the flexibility of conventional steam and gas power plants to enable existing infrastructure to cope with more variable renewable energy generation, and assessment of how this will operate in the future power system. Find out more about the Future Conventional Power Consortium at www.durham.ac.uk/dei/projects/futurepower/
  • Work to design the quantitative risk modelling for the GB Distribution Network Statutory Capacity Assessment and capacity market, to assess the risk of electricity capacity shortfalls. Associated research includes work with the Electric Power Research Institute on Transferring UK experience to other systems and a new project funded through the Supergen Hubnet on ‘SMART-SAFE: sequential modelling, analysis and reporting toolkit for system adequacy and flexibility’.
  • Assessment of uncertainty in predictions from large scale energy systems models and how this might be used in decision support.
  • Research into Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids to assess the value of storage in future energy systems, with particular emphasis on security of supply.
  • Work to drive forward UK wind energy research and capacity to deliver integrated, cost-effective, reliable and available offshore wind through leadership roles in the Supergen Wind Energy Technologies Consortium and the follow-on Supergen Wind Hub.

Find out more about CESI research and activities at https://www.ncl.ac.uk/cesi/