Guest Speakers

Carolina Totora, Head of Digital Transformation and Innovation Strategy, National Grid ESO

Ms Anna Carolina Tortora, an Italian/Colombian/Canadian MIT alumna with a background in Aerospace Engineering, heads the Department of Innovation Strategy for National Grid’s Electricity System Operator.

Her mission is to accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK system to meet the country’s ambitious Net Zero targets by leveraging new digital solutions, grid technologies and services. She currently also heads up VirtualES, ESO’s futuristic programme, to develop the first Digital Twin of the entire energy system in the UK.

Prior to NGESO, Carolina held the equivalent position in Rome at the Italian TSO, Terna Spa, where, amongst other projects, she successfully led the deployment of the largest high voltage connected Storage plants (batteries) in Europe; a project that earned her company and Carolina worldwide recognition.

Today, Carolina is a senior advisor and mentor to some of the world’s most promising battery start-ups. The recipient of numerous honours including being a featured speaker for 2017 TEDxRome, as well as being elected as one of Italy’s Top 40 under forty managers in 2016.

Ms Tortora today splits her time between National Grid ESO, her peloton bike, and her husband Luca and son, Matteo.

Dr Wei He, Principal Engineer, Equinor

Wei He obtained her Ph.D from Delft University of Technology and MBA from European University, the Netherlands.  Prior to this, she worked for wind energy systems at Technical University of Denmark and wind power integration at DNV (KEMA) in the Netherlands during 1990 to 1992. She is a principal engineer at Equinor, Norway, where she has worked for 25 years. She has applied her offshore oil and gas platform experiences to offshore wind and energy storage technology innovations. Dr. He has led 12 EU funded collaborative wind energy, green hydrogen and marine battery projects at Equinor.

Abigail Dombey, Energy and Sustainability Engineer, Net Zero Associates

Abigail Dombey (CEng CEnv) is an Energy and Sustainability Engineer at Net Zero Associates, and is Chair of Hydrogen Sussex. Abigail has an extensive background in carbon reduction projects in the public sector, having spent 10 years as Head of Sustainability at the University of Brighton. She now predominantly focuses on decarbonisation projects, and is currently leading on a DESNZ funded hydrogen Industrial Fuel Switching project.

Gniewomir Flis, Senior Advisor to Kaya Partners

Gniewomir is an innovation consultant specialising in hydrogen technologies. He provides advisory and technical due diligence services to climate-focussed investors, think tanks and equipment manufacturers.
Gniewomir has dedicated the last seven years to becoming an expert in carbon-neutral hydrogen. His experience spans roles in energy consultancies, think-tanks, start-ups and venture funds. Notably, he has advised the UK, German, and EU governments on many aspects of their hydrogen strategies, including market development, taxonomy, and the design and deployment of incentive schemes. He has two masters degrees; one in chemistry, the other in climate change & finance.


IDLES Programme Speakers

Prof. Tim Green, Professor of Power Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Tim is the Principal Investigator of the IDLES Programme. His research focuses on the analysis and technology to develop a zero-carbon electricity supply system that can accommodate variable renewable sources and new widespread electric vehicle charging while still delivering a cost effective and very reliable service. Tim’s research has been supported by EPSRC, Hitachi Energy, National Grid ESO and UK Power Networks.

Dr Aruna Sivakumar, Reader in Consumer Demand Modelling and Urban Systems, Centre for Transport Studies

Aruna is the Director of the Urban Systems Lab and leads several smart city and systems modelling initiatives including, for example, the monitoring and evaluation work package of the EU Sharing Cities project and accessibility framework for equity analysis in the Wellcome Trust-funded Pathways project. Her research on activity-based microsimulation models of urban resource demands is internationally renowned and she has been invited to present at several seminar series, such as the UCL Energy series and the Choice Modelling Seminar series at Leeds University.

Dr Jacek Pawlak, Research Fellow, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jacek is a Research Fellow in in the Urban Systems Laboratory and Centre for Transport Studies and works in the fields of transport, urban systems, technology, and innovation. His background is in Economics, Geography and Transport Studies. In recent years, Jacek has been involved in research concerning understanding and modelling the role and impact of new technologies on transport and more broadly urban systems, using traditional and emerging data sources.

Prof. Adam Hawkes, Professor of Energy Systems, Department of Chemical Engineering

Adam is a Professor of Energy Systems in the Dept of Chemical Engineering.  He has more than 20 years’ experience of technical leadership and management in the field of greenhouse gas mitigation approaches, energy technology assessment, and systems design and modelling. Adam has worked on key emerging challenges in energy systems such as global mitigation pathways, methane emissions, the future roles for conventional and low-carbon fuels, heat decarbonization, mass-market integration of renewables, and the role of carbon capture in sustainable energy systems. 

Dr Semra Bakkaloglu, Research Associate, Department of Chemical Engineering

Semra is a Research Associate at the Chemical Engineering Department, which she joined in 2020 from Royal Holloway, University of London, following her PhD in Earth Science as a Marie Curie Early-Stage Researcher. Semra’s research interests include methane and hydrogen emissions, biomethane supply chain processes, negative emission technologies, energy system modelling and life cycle assessment. Previously, she worked for three years as an environmental process engineer in a petroleum refinery in Turkey and completed her MSc in Environmental Engineering & Earth Science at Clemson University, US, as a Fulbright Scholar. 

Dr Malte Jansen, Lecturer in Energy and Sustainability, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex

Malte is a Lecturer in Energy and Sustainability specialising in energy systems with high shares of renewables, at the Science and Policy Research Unit at the Business School of the University of Sussex. He is an expert in energy policy, renewable power plant technology, energy market design, econometric modelling and wind power forecasting. Malte previously worked for five years as a Research Associate at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London and has been part of the IDLES Programme since it commenced.
Malte is a doctor of energy economics (Dr. rer. pol.) and wrote his thesis on the economics of wind and solar in markets for power system reserve. He holds degrees in engineering and economics.

Dr Marko Aunedi, Advanced Research Fellow

Marko is an Advanced Research Fellow at Imperial College London and Researcher Co-Investigator in the IDLES Programme, with 23 years of experience in energy system modelling. His research focuses on system integration of renewables and low-carbon technologies, impact assessment of heat and transport electrification, integrated whole-energy system modelling, impact of flexible demand on low-carbon energy systems and the benefits of energy storage technologies. He has led Imperial’s work in a number of European and UK-based research projects focused on energy system flexibility and grid impact of transport and heat decarbonisation. He has also worked on strategic energy system studies for industrial partners and public sector bodies including the Climate Change Committee, Government, Ofgem and Carbon Trust. He collaborates regularly as an external expert with a number of international organisations including the UNFCCC Secretariat, IAEA, IEA and IRENA.

Dr Mirabelle Muûls, Assistant Professor in Economics, Imperial College Business School 

Mirabelle is an economist in the Economics and Public Policy department and the co-director of the Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions. Her current research focuses on the economics of climate change, seeking in particular to understand the impact of climate change policies and climate change on firms’ emissions, energy efficiency, innovation, competitiveness and performance. Her team is also analysing households’ energy demand and its flexibility, seeking to understand their behavioural response to different incentives through the analysis of smart meter data and randomised control trials. 

Professor Goran Strbac, Professor of Energy Systems, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering 

Goran has extensive experience in advanced modelling and analysis of operation, planning, security, resilience and economics of energy systems. He led the development of novel advanced analysis approaches and methodologies that have been extensively used to inform industry, governments and regulatory bodies about the role and value of emerging new technologies and systems in supporting cost effective evolution to smart low carbon energy future. His research areas include whole-energy system modelling, energy market design, integration of renewable energy sources, distributed energy resources, security and resilience of future energy infrastructure and energy planning under uncertainties.

Dr Andreas Olympios, Research Associate, Clean Energy Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering

Andreas is a postdoctoral researcher in the Clean Energy Processes (CEP) Laboratory of the Department of Chemical Engineering. His research interests include the design and operational optimisation of low-carbon heating technologies, the identification of energy-system implications of heat and electricity decarbonisation; and modelling of large-scale thermo-mechanical (e.g., pumped-thermal) electricity storage technologies.

Dr Paul Sapin, Energy Division Leader, Clean Energy Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering

Paul’s research focuses on thermo-mechanical energy technologies, with applications to waste-heat recovery (e.g., organic Rankine cycle and hot-air engines), heat decarbonisation (e.g., mechanically- and thermally-driven heat pumps), and long-duration energy storage (e.g., compressed air and pumped heat/thermal electricity storage). He develops prototypes, experiments as well as physics-based and data-driven models to assess the performance and cost of readily available energy systems, but also to reveal the untapped potential of existing technologies and unlock that of emerging, disruptive solutions.