Dr Peter Boait

Job: Senior Research Fellow

Faculty: Technology

School/department: School of Engineering and Sustainable Development

Research group(s): Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)

Address: IESD, Queens Building, De Montfort University, Leicester, LE1 9BH UK

T: +44 (0)116 257 7971

E: p.boait@dmu.ac.uk

W: dmu.ac.uk/iesd

 

Research group affiliations

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development

Publications and outputs 

  • Can fuel cell micro-CHP justify the hydrogen gas grid? Operating experience from a UK domestic retrofit
    Can fuel cell micro-CHP justify the hydrogen gas grid? Operating experience from a UK domestic retrofit Boait, Peter John; Greenough, R. M. Fuel cell based micro combined heat and power (micro CHP) has been the subject of numerous simula- tion studies. We report on actual practical performance of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) micro CHP in a UK dwelling over the 2017–18 heating season and compare its performance with a Stirling engine micro CHP which it replaced. Results show that the PEMFC micro CHP achieves a much higher an- nual electricity output over a year, with household self-consumption and operating economics dependent on electric vehicle charging. Empirical models derived from this operating experience show that the value of this technology is less sensitive to building parameters, occupancy, and climate change when compared to engine-based micro CHP. We consider the potential role of this technology in the decarbonisation of heat, and highlight the benefit of reliable electricity generation injected into low voltage distribution to mitigate winter demand peaks from heat pumps. A comparative analysis of the primary energy efficiency of different methods of meeting domestic energy demand using natural gas with carbon capture shows that a mixed solution to decarbonisation of heat, combining heat pumps, PEMFC micro CHP, and hydro- gen boilers, should not degrade energy efficiency substantially by comparison with an all-electric solution and could be more acceptable to consumers. The authors would like to thank the European Commission for partial funding under the Horizon 2020 PACE project of the PEM fuel cell micro CHP evaluated in this study. Supplementary material associated with this article can be found, in the online version, at doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.04.021 The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • The Practice and Potential of Renewable Energy Localisation: Results from a UK Field Trial
    The Practice and Potential of Renewable Energy Localisation: Results from a UK Field Trial Boait, Peter John; Snape, J. Richard; Morris, R.; Darby, S. The adaptation of electricity demand to match the non-despatchable nature of renewable generation is one of the key challenges of the energy transition. We describe a UK field trial in 48 homes of an approach to this problem aimed at directly matching local supply and demand. This combined a community-based business model with social engagement and demand response technology employing both thermal and electrical energy storage. A proportion of these homes (14) were equipped with rooftop photovoltaics (PV) amounting to a total of 45 kWp; the business model enabled the remaining 34 homes to consume the electricity exported from the PV-equipped dwellings at a favourably low tariff in the context of a time-of-day tariff scheme. We report on the useful financial return achieved by all participants, their overall experience of the trial, and the proportion of local generation consumed locally. The energy storage devices were controlled, with user oversight, to respond automatically to signals indicating the availability of low cost electricity either from the photovoltaics or the time of day grid tariff. A substantial response was observed in the resulting demand profile from these controls, less so from demand scheduling methods which required regular user configuration. Finally results are reported from a follow-up fully commercial implementation of the concept showing the viability of the business model. We conclude that the sustainability of the transition to renewable energy can be strengthened with a community-oriented approach as demonstrated in the trial that supports users through technological change and improves return on investment by matching local generation and consumption. open access article
  • Reducing High Energy Demand Associated with Air-Conditioning Needs in Saudi Arabia
    Reducing High Energy Demand Associated with Air-Conditioning Needs in Saudi Arabia Boait, Peter John; Alshahrani, Jubran Electricity consumption in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has grown at an annual rate of about 7% as a result of population and economic growth. The consumption of the residential sector accounts for over 50% of the total energy generation. Moreover, the energy consumption of air-conditioning (AC) systems has become 70% of residential buildings’ total electricity consumption in the summer months, leading to a high peak electricity demand. This study investigates solutions that will tackle the problem of high energy demand associated with KSA’s air-conditioning needs in residential buildings. To reduce the AC energy consumption in the residential sector, we propose the use of smart control in the thermostat settings. Smart control can be utilized by (i) scheduling and advance control of the operation of AC systems and (ii) remotely setting the thermostats appropriately by the utilities. In this study, we model typical residential buildings and, crucially, occupancy behavior based on behavioral data obtained through a survey. The potential impacts in terms of achievable electricity savings of different AC operation modes for residential houses of Riyadh city are presented. The results from our computer simulations show that the solutions intended to reduce energy consumption effectively, particularly in the advance mode of operation, resulted in a 30% to 40% increase in total annual energy savings. open access article
  • Finding the Optimum Orientation for PV Systems Matched to the Timing of the Demand Profile
    Finding the Optimum Orientation for PV Systems Matched to the Timing of the Demand Profile Alshahrani, Jubran; Boait, Peter John; Alshahrani, Abdullah Electricity consumption in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has grown by about 7% annually in the last two decades due to population and economic growth. The consumption of the residential sector accounts for over 50% of the total energy generation largely due to the consumption of the buildings’ air conditioning. This factor contributes significantly to a situation where peak electricity demand occurs in early afternoon. Thus, this paper presents one of the possible ways of managing electricity peak demand by proposing deployment of PV panels with slope and orientation that are optimized with respect to the timing of the demand profile in order to contribute most effectively to national electricity generation capacity. As a case study, numerical results are presented for Riyadh city in KSA. IEEE conference publication
  • ESCoBox: A set of tools for mini-grid sustainability in the developing world
    ESCoBox: A set of tools for mini-grid sustainability in the developing world Advani, Varun; Wade, Neal; Greenwood, D.; Davison, P.; Gammon, Rupert; Boait, Peter John Mini-grids powered by photovoltaic generators or other renewable energy sources have the potential to bring electricity to the 17% of the world’s population, mainly in rural areas, that are currently un-served. However, designing and managing a mini-grid so that it is reliable and economically sustainable is difficult because of the high variability of demand that arises from the small population of consumers. We describe an integrated set of four tools to assist mini-grid operators to predict and manage demand. These comprise a decision support tool to predict peak and average demand from a consumer population, a demand disaggregation tool that allows the key statistical properties of connected electricity-consuming appliances to be identified, a battery condition modeling tool which allows the impact on battery life of a planned operating regime to be predicted and a demand control sub-system which limits the operating time of high demand appliances to intervals when they can be supported. Results from application of the tool set to mini-grids in Kenya and The Gambia are presented. We conclude that accessible, usable and low cost tools of this form can improve mini-grid sustainability. Collaboration with Newcastle University and other NGO and commercial partners. Open Access article
  • Making Legacy Thermal Storage Heating fit for the Smart Grid
    Making Legacy Thermal Storage Heating fit for the Smart Grid Boait, Peter John; Snape, J. Richard; Darby, S.; Hamilton, J.; Morris, R. Thermal storage heaters, charged using overnight off-peak electricity, have been used for domestic space heating in the UK and other countries since the 1980s. However, they have always been difficult for consumers to manage efficiently and, with the advent of a high proportion of renewables in the electricity generation mix, the time of day when they are charged needs to be more flexible. There is also a need to reduce peaks in the demand profile to allow distribution networks to support new sources of demand such as electric vehicles. We describe a trial of a smart control system that was retrofitted to a group of six dwellings with this form of heating, with the objectives of providing more convenient and efficient control for the users while varying the times at which charging is performed, to flatten the profile of demand and make use of locally-generated renewable electricity. The trial also employs a commercially-realistic combination of a static time-of-day tariff with a real time tariff dependent on local generation, to provide consumers with the opportunity and incentive to reduce their costs by varying times of use of appliances. Results from operation over the 2015-16 heating season indicate that the objectives are largely achieved. It is estimated that on an annualised and weather-adjusted basis most of the users have consumed less electricity than before intervention and their costs are less on the trial tariffs. Critical factors for success of this form of system are identified, particularly the need to facilitate hands-on control of heating by thrifty users and the importance of an effective and sustained user engagement programme when introducing the technology, to ensure users gain confidence through a readily-accessible source of support and advice. Collaborative paper with Oxford University Environmental Change Institute and Energy Local Ltd. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Performance comparison of UK domestic renewable incentives
    Performance comparison of UK domestic renewable incentives Snape, J. Richard; Boait, Peter John; Rylatt, R. Mark The UK has introduced two schemes that incentivise the adoption of domestic-scale renewable energy technologies (RETs), specifically the feed-in tariff (FiT) and renewable heat incentive (RHI). Both policies offer householders who install RETs a payback tariff based on the quantity of renewable energy they can produce and were introduced in the context of UK’s 2050 carbon reduction targets. A dual method is used to analyse the differing adoption under both schemes and reasons for it. First, registration data are analysed to assess impact in terms of stimulation of RET adoption in the domestic setting. Second, agent-based models are used to simulate adoption under both schemes and test the impact of non-financial factors on the rates of adoption. Results of the analysis and models are combined to give insight into differing rates of adoption. The paper concludes that factors beyond pure financial considerations have significant effects on rates of adoption, with the FiT stimulating far more adoption of rooftop photovoltaics than the RHI has stimulated adoption of heat pumps. It is recommended that policymakers take account of these non-financial factors when designing policy to encourage adoption of technology necessary for smart low-carbon future energy systems.
  • Management of Demand Profiles on Mini-Grids in Developing Countries Using Timeslot Allocation
    Management of Demand Profiles on Mini-Grids in Developing Countries Using Timeslot Allocation Gammon, Rupert; Boait, Peter John; Advani, Varun Stand-alone mini-grids provide vital energy access to rural communities across the Developing World where economic constraints necessitate optimal cost-effectiveness without compromising reliability or quality of service. Managing electricity demand to match supply availability – for example, by incentivizing consumers to operate loads at specific times – can contribute to this aim. This paper addresses a method to achieve this, whereby timeslots are sold in which additional power is made available to participating consumers with high-powered, commercial loads, such as grain mills. Using a low-cost microprocessor to control remotely-switchable power sockets by wireless communications, circuits are activated according to the timeslots purchased without interruption of low-power (e.g. lighting and phone-charging) circuits. Informed by site survey data, laboratory tests demonstrated the system to be reliable and effective in maintaining demand closer to supply availability while avoiding overloads. This reduces losses and the need for storage while increasing energy access and return on investment.
  • Estimation of demand diversity and daily demand profile for off grid electrification in developing countries
    Estimation of demand diversity and daily demand profile for off grid electrification in developing countries Boait, Peter John; Gammon, Rupert; Advani, Varun The potential for small self-contained grid systems to provide electricity for currently unserved regions of the developing world is widely recognised. However planning and managing the electrical demand that will be supported, so that a mini-grid system is not overloaded and its available resource is used as fully as possible, is actually more difficult than for a large scale grid system. This paper discusses the mathematical reasons why this is the case, and describes a practical software tool for mini-grid demand estimation and planning that is complementary to the widely used HOMER software. This software tool is made available for download on an open source basis. Finally a conclusion is offered that mini-grid systems should aim to serve at least 50 households so that demand variability is more manageable and economies of scale can be realised. Describes software downloadable from: https://github.com/peterboait/ESCoBox_Load_Model Open Access
  • Exploring Smart Grid Possibilities: A Complex Systems Modelling Approach
    Exploring Smart Grid Possibilities: A Complex Systems Modelling Approach Rylatt, R. Mark; Snape, J. Richard; Allen, P.; Ardestani, B. M.; Boait, Peter John; Boggasch, E.; Fan, Denis; Fletcher, G.; Gammon, Rupert; Lemon, Mark; Pakka, V. H.; Savill, M.; Smith, Stefan; Strathern, M.; Varga, Liz Smart grid research has tended to be compartmentalised, with notable contributions from economics, electrical engineering and science and technology studies. However, there is an acknowledged and growing need for an integrated systems approach to the evaluation of smart grid initiatives. The capacity to simulate and explore smart grid possibilities on various scales is key to such an integrated approach but existing models – even if multidisciplinary – tend to have a limited focus. This paper describes an innovative and flexible framework that has been developed to facilitate the simulation of various smart grid scenarios and the interconnected social, technical and economic networks from a complex systems perspective. The architecture is described and related to realised examples of its use, both to model the electricity system as it is today and to model futures that have been envisioned in the literature. Potential future applications of the framework are explored, along with its utility as an analytic and decision support tool for smart grid stakeholders. Complex Systems Research Centre, Cranfield University & Ostfalia, Fakultät Versorgungstechnik, EOS – Institut für energieoptimierte Systeme Open Access article

Click here for a full listing of Peter Boait's publications and outputs

Research interests/expertise

Energy management and control systems particularly for the domestic environment

Smart home / Smart grid integration

Novel forms of domestic energy conversion appliances such as heat pumps and micro CHP

Energy services as a business model for low carbon transition

Qualifications

B.Sc Electronic Engineering, Southampton University, 1968-71

Ph.D Energy Systems, De Montfort University, 2004-08

Membership of professional associations and societies

Member Institution of Engineering and Technology

Professional licences and certificates

Chartered Engineer

Conference attendance

COBEE 13-16 July 2008 Dalian, China. Paper “Self-configuring Domestic Energy Management System”. Self funded.

CIRED 8-11 June 2009 Prague. Paper “Smart Metering of Renewable Microgenerators by Output Pattern Recognition”.  Funded by CCC (EPSRC/Eon).

CIRED 6-9 June 2011 Frankfurt, Paper “Electrical load characteristics of domestic heat pumps and scope for demand side management”. Funded by CCC (EPSRC/Eon)

Consultancy work

Ofgem consultancy 1/08/2009-1/11/2009 on energy services – report published on Ofgem website

EA Technology consultancy 1/05/2011-31/12/2011 on detection and capacity estimation of distributed generation on distribution networks.

Externally funded research grants information

2009 - 2012 Carbon, Comfort & Control (CCC). Funded by EPSRC and Eon plc. Collaborators: Leeds Met, Loughborough, UCL, Greenwich, Durham, Eon.

2010 - 2013 Complex Adaptive Systems, Cognitive Agents and Distributed Energy (CASCADE). Funded by EPSRC. Collaborators: Cranfield

Published patents

Electronic control units for central heating systems - Automatic setting of heating times using Bayesian inferencing from electrical load and lifestyle setting - GB2432016 - 4 Nov 2005 - Granted 6 Nov 2007
      
Apparatus and methods for metering of renewable energy devices - Metering of renewable and CHP electricity generators by time and frequency domain pattern matching - GB2446530 - 8 Feb 2007 - Granted 11 March 2009
       
Apparatus and methods for energy output prediction of renewable energy devices - Prediction of the output energy of renewable and CHP devices - GB2446972 - 8 Feb 2007 - Granted 31 March 2009
      
Apparatus and methods for automatic recognition, metering, and output prediction of renewable energy sources - Automatic recognition of renewable energy sources by time and frequency domain pattern matching - GB2446418 - 8 Feb 2007 - Granted 31 March 2009
      
Energy management system - Energy management system using the all the data capture and optimisation methods covered by the 4 earlier patents - GB2448896 - 2 May 2007 - Granted 21 April 2009

PeterBoait3cropped

Search Who's Who

 

 
News target area image
News

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events target area image
Events

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.