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University of Bradford awarded Global Innovation Initiative grant


The University of Bradford has been awarded a grant by Global Innovation Initiative to fund a team of international researchers with the aim of accelerating smart grid technologies.

The two-year project, named SITARA: Smart Grid to harness Satellite based Virtual Power Plants for energy sustainability, is one of 14 multilateral university partnerships which have been awarded grants by the Global Innovation Initiative in 2015; a joint effort by the UK and US to foster multilateral research collaboration with higher education institutions in Brazil, China, India and Indonesia.

SITARA, with a grant of nearly £150,000, is one of eight awarded to UK-led partnerships by the British Council and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The SITARA consortium includes the University of Bradford, North Carolina State University (US) and Indian Institute of Technology Madras (India). The project consortium will also collaborate with the University of Hong Kong, which has a very strong smart grid research infrastructure, to validate some of the developed algorithms, and with Media Lab Asia and the Centre of Development of Advanced Computing, both affiliated to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in India, on impact evaluation and dissemination activities.

The project, led by Dr Prashant Pillai, Dr Haile Rajamani and Prof Fun Hu from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computing Science of the University of Bradford, will look into how Smart Grid technology integrates local energy storage and generation with the traditional power grid and makes use of satellite communications and intelligent control concepts to mitigate power outages in growing urban cities.

Dr Prashant Pillai, Project Manager, said: “With this funding, we will develop a secure system architecture to integrate satellite communications with Virtual Power Plants and power grids. The project will make use of real-time big data analytics along with smart predictive modelling to realise the novel concept of energy routing”.

Dr Pillai, added: “Such pioneering solutions will help improve the efficiency, reliability and environmental impact of energy transmission, distribution and consumption, by encouraging integration of more renewable energy sources that lowers the need for new power plants”.

Dr Haile-Selassie Rajamani, Knowledge Transfer and Dissemination Manager of the project, said: “To foster international collaboration for addressing key global issues in energy, this project will facilitate the mobility of researchers between the three institutions, three international conferences, one specialist training workshop for industry, and one summer school for students”.

Prof Fun Hu, Head of the Future Ubiquitous Networks Research Group, said: “Sustainable energy is high on the research agenda and government policies. The role of satellite communications in smart grid has yet to be explored and this project will enable us to examine its full potential in enabling smart grid technology”.

Picture (l-r) are: Dr Prashant Pillai, Professor Fun Hu and Dr Haile-Selassie Rajamani.

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