Low-carbon engineering framework for a resilient water network using renewable energy and storage integration

Lead Research Organisation: Northumbria University
Department Name: Fac of Engineering and Environment


Every day, millions of gallons of safe, clean water are consumed in the UK, relying on a "hidden" complex network infrastructure. In addition, this infrastructure also plays a critical role in improving the quality of the UK's river water through wastewater treatment. As small-scale renewable energy generation and storage system including hybrid solar photovoltaics, electric vehicles, battery and water storage have grown in popularity, there is now an opportunity to incorporate these low-carbon technologies into a smart water network to achieve significant carbon emissions savings associated with network operation. To improve operational performance, the interaction with the national electricity grid and advanced remote monitoring techniques using the wireless internet-of-things platform can be examined. New benefits, such as improved power quality, better demand management, and increased resilience, will also be produced. The overall goal of this project therefore is to design, create and validate an engineering framework that satisfies these aims and can be implemented economically.

Planned Impact

ReNU's enhanced doctoral training programme delivered by three uniquely co-located major UK universities, Northumbria (UNN), Durham (DU) and Newcastle (NU), addresses clear skills needs in small-to-medium scale renewable energy (RE) and sustainable distributed energy (DE). It was co-designed by a range of companies and is supported by a balanced portfolio of 27 industrial partners (e.g. Airbus, Siemens and Shell) of which 12 are small or medium size enterprises (SMEs) (e.g. Enocell, Equiwatt and Power Roll). A further 9 partners include Government, not-for-profit and key network organisations. Together these provide a powerful, direct and integrated pathway to a range of impacts that span whole energy systems.

Industrial partners will interact with ReNU in three main ways: (1) through the Strategic Advisory Board; (2) by providing external input to individual doctoral candidate's projects; and (3) by setting Industrial Challenge Mini-Projects. These interactions will directly benefit companies by enabling them to focus ReNU's training programme on particular needs, allowing transfer of best practice in training and state-of-the-art techniques, solution approaches to R&D challenges and generation of intellectual property. Access to ReNU for new industrial partners that may wish to benefit from ReNU is enabled by the involvement of key networks and organisations such as the North East Automotive Alliance, the Engineering Employer Federation, and Knowledge Transfer Network (Energy).

In addition to industrial partners, ReNU includes Government organisations and not for-profit-organisations. These partners provide pathways to create impact via policy and public engagement. Similarly, significant academic impact will be achieved through collaborations with project partners in Singapore, Canada and China. This impact will result in research excellence disseminated through prestigious academic journals and international conferences to the benefit of the global community working on advanced energy materials.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023836/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2599776 Studentship EP/S023836/1 01/10/2021 21/04/2026 Divyabhan Duggal