Modelling Technologies to Support Energy Access and Sustainable Development

Mini-grids, community-scale systems that provide electricity to several hundred households, are a promising way of providing electricity to those people currently without access around the world in-line with the United Nations’ SDG7 (clean and affordable electricity for all). Using open-source computer models developed within our group, we are able to assess the performance of various technologies within mini-grid contexts to determine the best means of meeting a community’s needs, whether this be power for domestic uses or for agriculture, or for hot or even clean water for a community. More recently, a newly developer graphical user interface produced within the group aims to expand access, not only to electricity, but also to the research-level tools developed for studying these scenarios.


Benedict Winchester is a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. Based within the Grantham Institute’s Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Partnership, his research investigates the potential of disruptive, combined Photovoltaic-Thermal (PV-T) panels to provide clean water and power to both rural communities and large-scale installations. Looking at both mini-grid contexts (off-grid community-scale systems) and larger installations, his group uses tools to model and assess the performance of new technologies to meet energy-access needs and promote sustainable development.


About Energy Futures Lab

Energy Futures Lab is one of seven Global Institutes at Imperial College London. The institute was established to address global energy challenges by identifying and leading new opportunities to serve industry, government and society at large through high quality research, evidence and advocacy for positive change. The institute aims to promote energy innovation and advance systemic solutions for a sustainable energy future by bringing together the science, engineering and policy expertise at Imperial and fostering collaboration with a wide variety of external partners.

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