Prof N J Hewitt, Prof Jayanta Mondol, Dr Angela Rolfe  Monday, February 26, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

As per the UK government’s net-zero and heat and buildings strategies, in order to achieve the core goal of a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2037 and ultimately, 100% decarbonisation by 2050, we need to decarbonise the energy used by our campus buildings.

​Ulster University, with its large campus sites, has the opportunity to deliver a plan to decarbonise its campuses that consist of a mixture of individual historic buildings to near state of the art modern high-rise developments. The campuses range from an out-of-town campus, a multi-building town centre campus and a town centre constrained campus site.

​Such campuses exhibit both common and unique approaches to energy decarbonisation namely energy efficiency first in what that they can achieve, what renewable energy is deployed and can be deployed in each campus, what local energy sources can be used e.g., adjacent waste heat and so forth. The lesser boundary constrained sites can also explore being energy centres for the whole university and their surrounding communities, and have possibilities for geothermal and other renewable energy onsite deployment and therefore, in terms of electricity generated, identifying how electricity generated on these sites can be passed to other campuses.

​Therefore, the potential methodology would address the current energy use of the campuses and how that is achieved, where the University lies in terms of decarbonisation targets and its decarbonisation of its energy, what approaches can the University take that are a) site specific and b) university wide to reach decarbonisation targets. However, such plans must be cost effective, so what are the levelized costs of the energy produced and the savings that can be made be cost-effective. Ultimately, an investment plan for the University will be developed, leading to decarbonisation, as well as reducing the University’s reliance on fossil fuels and their increasing price volatility.

​Finally, using HESA Estate Management Data, the observations made at Ulster can be extrapolated to other university campuses.

​Therefore, we are seeking an engineering related graduate with a strong interest and energy related expertise. The skills that you will develop include energy management, data analysis, renewable energy integration, energy policy and impacts of behavioural change.​

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13)

References

Strategies towards reducing carbon emission in university campuses: A comprehensive review of both global and local scales, Journal of Building Engineering, 24 June 2023, Reihaneh Aghamolaei and Marzieh Fallahpour
​Development and evaluation of a method to estimate the potential of decarbonisation technologies deployment at higher education campuses, Sustainable Cities and Society, May 2019, William Horan, Rachel Shawe and Bernadette O’Regan
​Scalable pathways to net zero carbon in the UK higher education sector: A systematic review of smart energy systems in university campuses, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 25 May 2021, Vasiliki Kourgiozou, Andrew Commin and Dejan Mumovic
​Performance analysis for the UK's first 5th generation heat network – The BEN case study at LSBU, Energy, 21 December 2021, Aaron Gillich, Julie Godefroy, Jonathan L'Hostis
​https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c21042/introduction