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Innovative user-driven energy management system for smart buildings (FULLY FUNDED)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Parisio
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Keywords: Smart buildings, Home energy management systems, Demand Response

The project aims at the design of a novel consumer-focused control solution for networks of smart buildings. This advanced control framework has to be able to manage local generation capabilities and storage devices, as well as to incorporate users into the design, with their preferences and their uncertainty; this way, the building is smartened, thus is responsive to building’s occupants in order to improve their comfort and allow smart appliances and heating systems to be on the market and respond to utility signals. The core of the novel control framework will be a distributed algorithm that coordinates a network of smart buildings such that common goals are achieved. The benefits for consumers can be diverse, e.g., reduction of the electricity bill, improving of living conditions, supporting a more environmentally friendly energy behaviour. The designed control framework should not be a tailored configuration but a cost-effective solution deployable by a wider range of consumers’ sizes. The ultimate goal will be identifying the optimal methodology to understand better the interaction between consumers and energy market and find an answer to the following question: what is the optimal mix of behavioural change, consumer feedback and automation technologies? The developed control framework will be validated against actual buildings monitoring data, in order to verify its performance and reliability.

Smart grids present considerable opportunities for UK businesses: it creates jobs and support economic growth. The expected reduction of energy for heating and cooling purposes from the application of the proposed energy management system is in the range of 15-20%, with a similar curtailment of CO2 emissions.

Building management companies can increase their competitiveness on a world-wide level and expand their market and staff, thus attracting economic resources and increasing employment levels in the sector.

The deployment of innovative management system for smart buildings is also expected to boost the penetration of sensor technologies that will be beneficial to companies operating in the building sector. The proposed platform will allow energy utilities to interact with building managers for energy peak shaving, which is beneficial for power control.

What novelty will the student base their PhD on?
The proposed control solution will take consumers decisions and feedback into account and will be able to adapt to uncertainty deriving by their behaviour and changes in their energy needs. In addition, the control framework will take advantage from flexibility opportunities offered by storage devices on a larger scale. Coordination strategies will be designed so that the aggregated demand profile meets required criteria.

Year 1:
Taught courses and preparatory study

Year 2:
• Energy benchmarking and energy profiling.
• Analysis and modelling of the energy use, local generation and storage capabilities (e.g., energy for space heating and cooling, electricity for appliances, heat pumps).
• Collaborations with companies in the building sector are expected.

Year 3:
• Data retrieval from sensors and people behaviour analysis based on sensor data coming from control environment and building infrastructures.
• Computation of optimal actions using the collected sensors data and incorporating the uncertainty of user behaviour and energy needs. These optimal actions will be suggested real-time to the users, on the basis of the specific user profile (their preferences and comfort requirements), the type of systems available (e.g., centralized or decentralized), the availability and flexibility of controllers available (automatic or manual).

Year 4:
• Providing information to the users (e.g., current energy use; suggestions on behavioural change; historical data; useful comparisons, for instance with the building average) by means of user-friendly and clear user interfaces.
• Implementation of the control and coordination framework and testing activities.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by EPSRC, the University of Manchester and our Industry partners. Funding is available to UK candidates. EU candidates are also eligible if they have been studying or working continuously in the UK for three or more years (prior to the start date of the programme). The successful candidates will have their fees paid in full and will receive an enhanced maintenance stipend.

See here for information on how to apply and entry requirements:

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