Markets, Policy and Consumer behaviour

Energy Market Disruption: The potential of a Lifestyle Service Company (LiSCo) to disrupt the market

Student: Dina Assem

Supervisors: Dr Jeffrey Hardy, Grantham Institute,  Dr Christoph Mazur, Department of Chemical Engineering

The UK has set itself on a transition towards a low carbon economy and society to be able to meet its legally-binding target of 80% emissions reduction by 2050. This transition will incorporate a radical change in all actors in the energy sector. This project aims at looking into innovative business models and their potential to disrupt the energy market by proposing a new type of consumer-centric business model, the life style service company (LiSCo). A LiSCo is where 3rd party is given power of attorney to take energy decision on behalf of the customer. This could range from switching utilities, to energy services optimisation, home energy management and peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading services. The project extends to understand the transition pathway and dependencies for how this business model could take substantial market share using insights from research on socio-technical systems and sustainability transitions theories to develop visions, understand barriers to change, and how to overcome them.

UK regional electricity price models for large energy consumers: Real-time dynamics & scenario-based time series forecast

Student: Mehdi Benbrahim El-Andaloussi

Supervisors: Dr Salvador Acha, Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr Romain Lambert, Department of Chemical Engineering, Mr Niccolo Le Brun, Department of Chemical Engineering

Beyond the commodity, the thesis aims to capture all the dynamics influencing current and future commercial electricity prices within the U.K in order to develop a comprehensive scenario-based forecasting model. Main goals include providing a useful tool to drive the right energy management strategies for large energy users. The integration of spatial disparities could potentially enable us to determine the regions where implementing Demand Side Response procedures may be the most profitable.

Water demand and organization and payment schemes for solar pumping systems in emerging countries: a case study in Burkina Faso

Student: Vitali Caplain

Supervisors: Dr Judith Cherni, Centre for Environmental Policy, Dr Loic Queval, University of Paris-Saclay, Mr Simon Meunier, University of Paris-Saclay

Photovoltaic water pumping systems are a promising solution to improve health, education and social well-being through better water access in rural communities of emerging countries. Nevertheless, the technical solution must be accompanied by demand-driven management schemes to meet what people want and are willing to pay for. Current standardized water demand prediction methods and management practices do not yet fulfill these requirements. Localized demand evaluation method would help to prevent system failure and enable truly demand-driven management schemes which can significantly improve water repartition. This thesis aims first, at understanding community members’ individual preferences concerning water demand to forecast their utilization of a new solar water source before it is built. Second, at proposing and evaluating an organization and payment scheme adapted to this forecast utilization that caters for water demand, maximizes water use efficiency and ensures the long-term sustainability of water access.

The Interaction of business models and market architecture evolution in the UK

Student: Nicky Ferguson

Supervsiors: Dr Christoph Mazur, Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr Jeffrey Hardy, Grantham Institute

In a period of a rapidly changing energy system, the energy markets and business models that exist in the UK today are no longer optimal to achieve the complex outcomes desired. There are many proposed business models and market architectures of the future, but no theoretical framework for how the two interact. This study looks into the impacts that business models and the market architecture have on each others’ evolution, focusing on domestic energy supplier business models and the retail market policy and regulations since liberalisation. Utilising business model, co-evolutionary and socio-technical transition theory, a theoretical framework is developed to determine the nature of the impacts and potential barriers and enablers to their evolution.

The value of data in future energy systems and the implications for future energy market designs

Student: David Fermon

Supervisors: Dr Jeffrey Hardy, Grantham Institute, Dr Christoph Mazur, Department of Chemical Engineering

Data have changed many industries and affect our daily life. Although they are used in the energy sector, their full potential has not been exploited yet. This projects aims to estimate the true value of data, how they can assist with the energy transition, and how they can affect UK's energy market design.

Analysis of the potential and techno-economic impact of demand side management on a solar minigrid in rural Rwanda

Student: Noah Ochima

Supervisors: Professor Jenny Nelson, Department of Physics, Mr Hamish Beath, Department of Physics

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2017 progress report highlighted that over 1 billion people still have no access to electricity, the majority living in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Mini-grids, mainly those based on solar, have the potential to increase electricity access in rural areas where incomes are low and terrains are difficult. In addition, the promotion of productive uses has the potential to directly improve the incomes of the rural inhabitants. This thesis aims to investigate the impact of particular productive uses on the techno-economics of an AC solar minigrid in Rwanda. A specific objective was to understand the potential for demand flexibility and time of use tariffs as a method of promoting day time usage of the system in order to reduce investment in battery storage. The system sizing and cost savings are modelled using CLOVER, a minigrid simulation tool developed at the Grantham institute.

Shift in diet potential to mitigate climate change: The case study of France

Student: Daphne Rosenthal

Supervisors: Dr Joana Portugal Pereira, Centre for Environmental Policy, Ms Rene van Diemen, Centre for Environmental Policy

Recently, tackling food diet emissions through the examination of a shift in diets has been seen as a new lever to mitigate climate change and keep it “well below 2°C”. The goal is to understand and justify the need for a shift of diet to meet current policies and targets concerning climate change. The overall aim of this thesis is to demonstrate how a shift of diet could enable countries to decrease their GHG emissions and have low carbon futures via the case study of France. By modelling various alterations in the current average French diet considering scenarios, comparisons would be established to estimate the potential of reduction that could be achieved.

Cooperatives for accelerating the uptake of anaerobic digestion in the UK agricultural sector

Student: Esin Serin

Supervisors: Dr Koen van Dam, Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr Raphael Slade, Centre for Environmental Policy

This project seeks to evaluate the potential of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) cooperatives to accelerate the uptake of on-farm AD in the UK. By engaging with industry experts and farmers in addition to reviewing the relevant literature, this project aims to assess whether the AD cooperative model whereby multiple neighbouring farms come together and pool resources to run an AD system is viable. The project also paves the way for deploying AD cooperatives in an effective and self-sustaining way by analysing the role of information networks in farmer behaviour and tendency to take part in collaborative AD schemes.