Discover our People

FORECASTING - SOLVING PROBLEMS LINKED TO FUTURE UNCERTAINTIES

Professor Rob Hyndman
Head of the Department
Econometrics and Business Statistics
Monash University

Professor Rob Hyndman is the Head of the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics at Monash University. Rob is interested in forecasting and building models that are generally applicable across multiple industries. For him, forecasting has direct relevance for planning, especially around future uncertainties. He started thinking about energy forecasting around 2006 when he was contacted by someone from the South Australian market operator. “It is relatively easy to forecast electricity demand because there are lots of meteorological data available. But as we move to renewables and to local storage, it makes forecasting difficult because you base your forecast on historical data and there are sufficiently large changes in the industry that the past is no longer a good guide to the future. We have good models for wind and solar energy generation, but they need to be adapted to local circumstances. What we need is an integrated model combining the various generation sources as well as a good model for total demand”.

May 2019 - Read more


OPERATIONAL FLEXIBILITY FOR A RELIABLE AND RENEWABLE GRID

Semini Wijekoon
3rd year PhD candidate,
Optimisation, Faculty of IT
Monash University

Semini Wijekoon is a 3rd year PhD candidate at Monash University, supervised by Associate Professor Ariel Liebman (Monash University), Dr Simon Dunstall (Data 61, CSIRO) and Dr Aldeida Aleti (Monash University). Semini’s PhD research focuses on Co-optimisation of Power Network and Renewable Investment. "I’m essentially looking at how can we change the existing grid with coal-gas based generation to wind-solar based generation. When the renewable energy shared in the system increases, due to high variability in renewable sources, it is likely to require more investment in flexibility measures, such as flexible generators (generators with high ramping capabilities) and battery storage to maintain supply demand balance at all time. The current practices lack tools to capture this operational flexibility with actual cost factors, chronological data and accurate representation of the operational model. Therefore, my research focuses on developing algorithms to incorporate operational flexibility in capacity expansion problems”. (Semini Wijekoon, Optimisation, Faculty of IT, Monash University)

May 2019 - Read more


CHANGING DIGITAL LIFESTYLES – FORECASTING TO MANAGE ENERGY DEMAND

Associate Professor Yolande Strengers
Digital Technology and Society
Emerging Technologies Research Lab
Monash University

Associate Professor Yolande Strengers is a digital sociologist and human-computer interaction scholar investigating the energy and gender effects of digital, emerging and smart technologies. “Our emphasis in the Emerging Technologies lab is about how people experience and engage with new technologies into the future - the potential is always different from the reality. Hence, we need to carefully design and research emerging technologies with those intended to use and benefit from them.” The home environment is expanding - you can turn your air-conditioning or heater on from anywhere in the world - raising questions about monitoring your home, new energy demands and changing social expectations. “Our energy partners are interested in understanding householders and residential consumers better to inform energy forecasting, demand management programs and energy policies”. Yolande’s research ties people’s everyday practices and experiences to interdisciplinary, industrial-scale forecasting and modelling in the energy sector. (Associate Professor Yolande Strengers, Emerging Technology Research Lab, Monash University)

April 2019 - Read more


EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES TO JOIN THE ENERGY TRANSITION

Dominique McCollum Coy
1st year PhD candidate
Behaviour Change GRIP,
Monash University

Dominique McCollum Coy is a 1st year PhD candidate with BehaviourWorks Australia at Monash Sustainable Development Institute. Her research focuses on behaviour change in energy transition, or in other words how to move away from fossil fuel. “I’ve always been passionate about the environment and reducing injustice, which is why I decided not to stay in pure psychology and neuroscience and broaden my knowledge to sustainability”. For her PhD, Dominique investigates community and household level adoption of renewable energy technology; focusing on home solar panels and battery packs and the orchestration of these technologies in a mini-gird. “Often the energy transition is framed as the democratisation of energy, allowing people who have been locked out from decision making to innovate in the transition. I will explore how we can use this sense of empowerment to get more communities and households to adopt renewable energy technologies”. (Dominique McCollum Coy, PhD candidate in the Behaviour Change Grip, Monash University)

April 2019 - Read more


REDOX FLOW BATTERY – A SOLUTION FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY STORAGE?

Mr Thomas Blesch

Mr Thomas Blesch
2nd year PhD candidate
MacFarlane Group,
Monash University

Thomas Blesch started with Prof. Douglas MacFarlane's group in February 2018, co-supervised by Prof. Patrick Howlett from Deakin University and funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electro-materials Science. Thomas’s research focuses on redox flow batteries (RFB), where the energy is stored in a liquid redox-active electrolyte. “They have the potential to be cheaper, safer and easier to scale and maintain than Lithium alternatives. Li-ion batteries have 10 times higher volumetric energy density but are flammable. If you have enough space next to your solar-park or windfarm, you might want to adopt redox flow technology, especially in fire-prone Australia." RFB gained more attention recently as an option for the storage of excess renewable energy, and one is installed at Monash’s Clayton Campus. “The system I’m working on is different, I use iron complexes in organic solvents.” (Mr Thomas Blesch, PhD candidate in the MacFarlane Group, Monash University)

April 2019 - Read more


DIGITAL CIVICS, HOW TO ADDRESS MATTER OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND INEQUALITY

Professor Patrick Oliver

Professor Patrick Olivier
Societal Informatics
Faculty of Information Technology
Monash University

Professor Patrick Olivier, world-renowned human-computer interaction expert, works with social informatics and human-centred computing experts to develop digital services addressing matter of social justice and inequality. Patrick coined the term 'digital civics' and explored the concept of ‘commissioning platform’ for services. “Digital civics explores how digital technologies could promote more participation in designing and delivering public services. For example, the App Movement Platform provides a platform for users to ‘commission’ their own location-based review systems, to highlight specific issues and maintain a trusted information source on locations to e.g. breastfeed, access free condoms, fly drones…”. The technology bridges the gap between government and citizens. ”Digital civics aims to leverage technology to foster environments in which local agents solve problems together”. Patrick also led the development of widely adopted open source software and hardware projects (AX3, Intake24, BuildAX). (Professor Patrick Olivier, Societal Informatics research group, FIT, Monash University)

March 2019 - Read more


FROM VISUAL TO DESIGN ETHNOGRAPHY, HOW PEOPLE EXPERIENCE TECHNOLOGY

Professor Sarah Pink
Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab
Monash University

Professor Sarah Pink is world leading design anthropologist and expert in interdisciplinary methodologies for research, dissemination and engagement. “Most of my work focuses on understanding how people experience, live and imagine futures with technologies. People don't think of their activities as being energy-consuming. Instead they think of them as creating the right feeling at home, by playing music, lighting or heating and cooling the home. Similarly, people won't think of future AI assistants or self-driving cars in relation to the demands they make on energy, but as technologies that help them to achieve what they need in everyday life”. Sarah started to do research in the Energy Sector in 2010. For her, investigating how people use today’s technology is a starting point to conceptualize the technologies of tomorrow. (Professor Sarah Pink, Professor of Design and Emerging Technologies, Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Monash University)

March 2019 - Read more


FROM SILICON TO PEROVSKITE, A JOURNEY IN THE FIELD OF SOLAR CELLS

Dorota Bacall
3rd year PhD candidate
Chemical Engineering
Monash University

Dorota’s research focuses on perovskites at the Advanced Photovoltaic Lab, where device fabrication techniques and optimisation work are undertaken to maximise their efficiency. “The Udo Bach research group is the only lab in the world that successfully produced back-contact perovskite solar cells, allowing real time measurement of the perovskite layer during the manufacturing process”Easily-manufactured, low-cost, efficient perovskite cells could revolutionise the solar energy industry.Dorota and colleagues also work on increasing perovskite cells lifetime and durability. ”We measure solar cells during the exposure to some gases; how fast and what concentration affects the perovskite layer”. Dorota’s interest in renewable energy also targets biofuel. “Together with Biofuel innovations, I’m looking at developing a sustainable business model of algae biofuel production”. Her presence at the COP24 reinforced her belief that a synergy of renewable energy sources is required to meet global electricity demand. (Dorota Bacal, PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering, Monash University)

March 2019 - Read more


THE ROLE OF SOLAR ENERGY IN A NET ZERO EMISSION WORLD

Mr Peter Lusis
2nd year PhD candidate
Energy Systems Planning
Monash University

Peter gained experience in developing solar PV projects while working with UNDP and Renewable World. During his first visit to Monash as an exchange student in 2016, he learned about the Monash microgrid project what made him consider undertaking a PhD.“My research is about designing the most cost-effective solution on how to accommodate more solar PV in residential areas while providing a safe network operation. Instead of undertaking expensive network upgrades, we can increase PV hosting capacity through coordinated control of power electronics, so customers can install solar PV systems and facilitate the decarbonisation of electricity grid at minimal additional cost. First, you need to understand what are the network physical and operational limits. Then, you bring all this information into an optimisation model, to either minimise energy losses or costs. And, finally economics, we always need to consider relevant energy policies, electricity tariffs, as well as investment and maintenance costs”. (Peter Lusis, PhD candidate in Energy Systems Planning, FIT, Monash University)

February 2019 - Read more