SFI, industry and philanthropic funds invest €11m in Energy Systems Integration research

Posted November 25 2015

  • Energy Systems Integration is the process of making our energy system more coordinated
  • Programme will deliver a more cost-effective energy system with less impact on the environment

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr Damien English TD, has announced funding of over €11 million to the Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme (ESIPP) led by Professors Mark O’Malley, Federico Milano, Eoin Casey and Frank McDermott of University College Dublin (UCD).

Half of the investment comes from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), while the other half comes from five industry partners - AIB, EirGrid, Ervia, Glen Dimplex, ESB and a philanthropic contribution from Mr David O’Reilly, former Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation, and current Chair of the UCD Energy Advisory Board.

“Fostering partnerships between industry and academic researchers is a key element of the government’s Action Plan for Jobs,” said Minister English.

“This partnership programme will enable Ireland to take a leadership role in Energy Systems Integration within Europe and globally. This is a significant investment in a partnership programme by multidisciplinary collaborators who are predominant players in the field of Energy Systems Integration,” he added.

Pictured top: Professor Mark O’Malley, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, at the launch of the Energy Systems Integration Partnership Programme (ESIPP) at UCD; and below right, Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation also speaking at the launch. 

The ESIPP programme is led by Professors Mark O’Malley, Federico Milano, Eoin Casey and Frank McDermott of UCD, in collaboration with leading researchers from UCD; Dublin City University (DCU); Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI); National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG); Trinity College Dublin (TCD); University College Cork (UCC); University of Limerick (UL); and a number of international research institutions. ESIPP will work closely with an additional 17 industry collaborators.

“Energy Systems Integration is the process of making our energy system more coordinated. It does this by finding and exploiting synergies across the system e.g. storing energy as heat at times when there is abundant renewable electricity available,” said Professor Mark O’Malley, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

“Working at the interfaces between systems requires engineers, scientists, economists, business people and psychologists to find new ways to use resources more efficiently. Successful research, demonstration and deployment will deliver a more cost-effective energy system with less impact on the environment. ESIPP is designed to build much needed human capacity, which will put Ireland at the forefront of this important area,” added Professor O’Malley.

Energy Systems Integration (ESI) is a multidisciplinary area ranging from science, engineering and technology to policy, economics, regulation and human behaviour. ESI is coming to the fore in the planning, design and operation of the global energy system and seeks to optimise the energy system and other large-scale infrastructures, in particular water, by leveraging the synergies across all scales and pathways (i.e. electricity, fuels & heat).

“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this partnership programme, which will encourage and strengthen the links between multidisciplinary research teams and industry partners while also facilitating the training in Energy Systems Integration, for industry orientated researchers at early and mid-career stages,” said Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland.

“ESIPP will foster industrial partnerships and develop research capacity in areas of current and emerging economic importance to Ireland.”

Mr David O’Reilly, former Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation, and current Chair of the UCD Energy Advisory Board said that he is “delighted to be involved in establishing a world-class research programme which is targeting new technologies in energy for the 21st century. Successful execution will benefit the Irish and global economies.”

“ESIPP allows the key utilities in Ireland’s energy sector to work together for the first time with universities and the private sector, researching how gas, water, electricity and heating can integrate and serve our customers more efficiently and dynamically,” said Michael McNicholas, chief executive of Ervia.

“Ervia along with our industry partners involved in this programme welcome today’s announcement by the Minister and we all look forward to building strong working relationships to make this programme a success.”

By: Dominic Martella, UCD University Relations