Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development areas of expertise

Research activities in IESD are organised under three thematic areas:

Low-carbon energy systems and infrastructure

Research in this area is driven by the growing concerns about climate change and the need to move towards low-carbon energy systems and infrastructure to support sustainable development. The expertise of the team in this area is captured under four main sub-themes:

  1. Smart grid and demand response – where interactions between the grid, producers, users and other stakeholders are investigated using technical and agent-based modelling tools.   
  2. Building and industrial energy efficiency analysis – where IESD has expertise in building physics, behavioural analysis, building simulation, thermal comfort analysis, among others.
  3. Low carbon transport – where the research has focused on electric vehicles, hydrogen as a fuel, and battery charging behaviour. 
  4. Renewable energy integration –  where the research is focusing on different technologies (solar thermal, PV, and geothermal)  at the residential, commercial and distribution system levels.

Professor Rick Greenough leads this thematic area.

Sustainable Communities and Sustainable Living

Societal challenges, both locally and internationally, have always influenced research in IESD. IESD has been applying the whole systems approaches to address issues in cities and rural areas involving resource utilisation, behavioural aspects, and governance challenges. The expertise in this area can be grouped in four sub-themes:

  1. Smart cities and smart villages – how appropriate technologies and social systems can support sustainable living and contribute to balanced spatial development. The research has focused on water, transport, energy and air pollution issues at different scales.
  2. Resource use behaviour – how users behave in terms of resource use and how their behaviour can be influenced to promote sustainable living.
  3. Socio-technical and environmental resilience and governance – how human-nature interactions are organised in societies and how such interactions can be managed and supported to ensure resilience.
  4. Sustainability education – alternative approaches to promote sustainability education in higher education institutions and elsewhere.

Professor Mark Lemon leads this thematic area.

Solutions for the base of the pyramid population

IESD has demonstrated expertise of working with the base of the pyramid population, particularly in rural areas of the developing world. The research has focused on three main themes:

  1. Energy access and energy poverty – where the team has successfully delivered solutions like renewable energy powered local mini-grids to provide electricity access and reduce energy poverty.
  2. Cooking energy solutions – work is ongoing in this area covering electric cook stoves, local biogas supplies from wastes and invasive species.
  3. Mobility solutions – low carbon mobility solutions are being experimented using local mini-grids as the backbone.  

Professor Subhes Bhattacharyya leads this thematic area.