Enhancing the impact of Solar Mini-grid Systems for productive use activities in India

Student: Bolaji Akinola-Alli

This project aims to identify ways by which income generating activities in rural communities can be enhanced through productive use, powered by solar mini-grid systems. These activities typically include applications in agro-processing activities such as flour milling. During this time, I partnered with Gram Oorja, a company that specialises in providing community driven energy solutions, where I collected data of established mini-grid systems in remote communities of Maharashtra, India. This data was processed using CLOVER, and recommendations were provided for private energy companies to better manage their resources and increase the economic value to the local community.


  • Dr Sheridan Few, Grantham Institute
  • Dr Philip Sandwell, Department of Physics
  • Dr Chiara Candelise, Centre for Environmental Policy

Sell Store or Mine: Intelligent Decision-Making for Renewable Energy Generation

Student: Joana Barragan

As renewables gain a larger share of the electricity generation market, so does the need to curtail renewable energy and compensate generators to account for intermittency. This thesis seeks to understand any value that may come from utilising energy otherwise curtailed to mine cryptocurrencies. The project aims to analyse the profitability of renewable energy generated according to three different courses of action: (1) Store: store energy and use energy at peak prices leading to savings, (2) Sell: sell the generated energy and make revenue from the wholesale prices of energy, (3) Mine: provide the energy to a crypto-mining pool and make a profit out of the cryptocurrency market value


  • Professor William Knottenbelt, Department of Computing

Acai Processing through Solar Micro-grids in Remote Communities in the Amazonian Region of Brazil

Student: Patience P Bukirwa

The Amazon region of Brazil has the lowest penetration of national grid infrastructure and an impoverished population that relies on acai­ and fishing for food and income, carried out mostly on subsidence basis. With a growing global market for acai due to its health benefits, there is potential for its trade to empower economic development in the region. The aim for this project is to evaluate the techno-economics of supplying electricity through solar powered micro-grids to an island community in the Amazon region for acai processing as well as other domestic demand.


  • Dr Sheridan Few, Grantham Institute
  • Dr Philip Sandwell, Department of Physics
  • Hamish Beath, Grantham Institute
  • Professor Jenny Nelson, Department of Physics

The value of solar irradiance forecasting in residential solar photovoltaics coupled with energy storage

Student: Ali Shazan Gulrez

The increasing penetration of renewable energy in the electricity grid has accentuated the need for accurate forecasting of renewable resources for different time and spatial horizons. Solar PV is among the frontrunners in renewable energy generation and is a favoured technology for rooftop installations. The project is an attempt to implement a robust and user friendly solar irradiance forecasting system which facilitates the effective integration of residential solar PV system with battery storage. The combination of solar forecasting and battery storage is mutually reinforcing and can provide new opportunities to consumers and businesses whilst offering a variety of services to the grid.


  • Dr Oytun Babacan, Grantham Institute
  • Professor Jenny Nelson, Department of Physics

A Techno-economic and socio-political assessment of solar electricity exports from the Sahara Desert

Student: Olatunde Okeowo

It is estimated that the Sahara Desert can potentially produce enough energy to meet global energy demand but, for a number of reasons, utilisation of this immense resource is still very low. This project aims to explore the techno-economic and socio-political reasons for this and propose solutions to the issues identified.


  • Prof Tim Green, Energy Futures Lab
  • Dr Xin Xiang, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Assessing the Impact of Photovoltaic Pumping Systems for Water Access in Developing Countries

Student: Ignacio Salsas

Photovoltaic water pumping systems seem a promising solution in rural communities to improve social and economic wellbeing through improved water access. However, after implementing demand-driven management schemes, the impact of this technology must be assessed. Gogma, a small rural settlement in Burkina Faso, provides the perfect study ground to evaluate the impacts of different water extraction techniques on the population. This thesis aims firstly, to correlate the use of different water extraction techniques to observations on the population. After, a regression model provides the effects of each extraction technique on parameters such as health, wealth, education and gender equality.


  • Dr Judith Cherni, Centre for Environmental Policy

High-efficiency solar hybrid PV: thermal technology with spectral control

Student: Christoforos Tazedakis

This project examines the potential benefits of implementing spectrum controlling liquid filters on a photovoltaic panel. A large part of the solar radiation is not utilised by the panel to generate electricity but instead causes the temperature of the solar collector to increase, reducing its performance. The flowing liquid filter above the panel is used to filter this part of the solar radiation, converting it to useful heat, which can then be utilised for heating or cooling purposes. To evaluate this application both a mathematical model of the system as well as a prototype unit under the weather conditions of London are examined.


  • Professor Christos Markides, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Dr Kai Wang, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Dr Gan Huang, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Dr Sara Riera Curt, Department of Chemical Engineering