Data4Sustain - integration of data to facilitate renewable energy technology use within urban environments

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


This project is a feasibility study for a web-map-service for assessing the suitability of various renewable energy technologies at a given geographical location. The project is a partnership between Land Quality Management Ltd, British Geological Survey, University of Nottingham, Nottingham Energy Partnership and Derby City Council. The project will produce an interactive web-based decision support tool that automatically integrates a range of above and below ground data sources (e.g. geology, soil and wind speed). The feasibility study will also refine the business model of the project in order move it forward to industrial research and development and commercialisation. The product will enable end users to decide which renewable energy technologies might be suitable for a particular site, including underused brownfields. Key benefits of the project will include a new web-map-service prototype ready for further research and development, improvements to the uptake of renewable energy technologies, potential reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and improved business competitiveness for the partners involved.

Planned Impact

Data4Sustain will provide the sustainable energy communities with an innovative big data platform capable of storing and processing amalgamated location based data sets. The platform will enable the visualisation of complex spatio-temporal data to produce a novel and substantial decision making tool for operators in sustainable energy.
Currently, advances in location-based data collection technologies and reductions in their costs are providing a vast and continuously increasing amount of data about the environment. However, the growth in the data has outpaced capabilities to analyse and transform the data into insightful information. This general lack of effective and easy to use geovisualisation tools creates an adverse impact on the return on the investment made to collect and manage these data.
Therefore, the project will be of interest to various stakeholders including: business, academia, government and citizens' organisations as demonstrated by the commitment to the project by Derby City Council.
A major impact to the sustainable energy communities will be a new visualisation technology for interpreting and gaining insights from 'big' data. This will lead to better understanding, increased and enhanced clarity for better and faster decision making allowing a complete and easily interpretable understanding of scenarios.
This new decision-support tool and the associated improvements in decision-making will lead to reductions in carbon emissions and increased revenue from the use of the technologies. These benefits will culminate in moving society toward sustainable development with clear social, environmental and economic gains for present/future generations.
Within the project, partners' expertise will deliver a platform to handle big data in an efficient and timely fashion. Through:
1/ An architecture with the functionality to handle massive spatio-temporal data;
2/ A visualisation framework capable of identifying meaningful spatio-temporal patterns at the macro/micro level;
3/ Supportive of the analysis, querying and visualisation of ancillary data;
4/ Capable of supplying analysis on demand in response to requests from technical and non-technical users;
5/ Adaptable to a range of research and commercial disciplines.
To achieve this, the partners will review the current state of the art for geovisualisation approaches combined with expert input allowing the development of new techniques and methods through client driven applications.
Dissemination of the results and engagement with stakeholders will take place through the lifetime of the project. This will include a promotional webpage, social media with at least two blogs, regular Twitter updates and inclusion of the project on project partners' professional profiles. The partners will also disseminate results via paper(s) to relevant peer reviewed journal(s) and promotion through attendance at workshops/conference.
A further dissemination route will be via a workshop funded and organised by EMBRACE (East Midlands Business and Research Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence) a partnership between the University of Nottingham, BGS and the University of Leicester that aims to combine the partners' resources, expertise and track record to build the UK's space industry capacity in the region.
Collaboration and Co-production
The potential for collaboration and co-production is illustrated by the partners that have already been engaged in preparing this proposal. The stakeholders have a diverse range of expertise in sustainable energy, visualising big data needs and requirements and will provide the team with an opportunity to rigorously develop the platforms and models and to test / validate the work through the real life case studies provided by Derby City Council. Furthermore it will provide a valuable feedback loop into the research allowing us to further iterate the research and thereby maximise impact.


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