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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R030235/1
Title: Resilient Electricity Networks for a productive Grid Architecture (RENGA)
Principal Investigator: Junyent-Ferre, Dr A
Other Investigators:
Green, Prof. T Ntagwirumugara, Professor E Staffell, Dr I
Nelson, Professor J Strbac, Professor G
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
BBOXX Ltd MeshPower Ltd (International)
Department: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: GCRF (EPSRC)
Starts: 01 May 2018 Ends: 30 April 2022 Value (£): 984,148
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Feb 2018 GCRF 3 - Energy Networks Call Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Electricity access is widely acknowledged as one of the key enablers of human development. Bringing electricity to low income areas in the developing world involves great technical, geopolitical and socioeconomic challenges. In recent years, autonomous electricity supply systems (AESS) have found a role in replacing kerosene lamps and candles as sources for basic lighting. However, their power rating was too low to power even small machinery, which made them have very little impact on the way people produce goods. According to the well-established power systems planning paradigm, the way to enable electricity access suitable for more productive applications is to build new transmission corridors to ship power from large power plants to isolated areas where it will be distributed using regional distribution networks. While this approach proved successful in the mid twentieth century, it often incurs prohibitive costs that make such projects infeasible in developing countries. One of the main issues of the old paradigm is that it misses the opportunity to use distributed energy resources (ie small scale generation, energy storage, etc) available today to drive the costs down and achieve better energy supply. The aim of this project is to bring some light over this matter by investigating a new approach where the electrical network would start from the local interconnection of small scale AESS. This ambitious goal will require the investigation of a suitable technological solution to link multiple AESS together, the development of new tools that are suitable to optimise the operation and planning of a network of interconnected AESS with models of demand and generation tailored for rural electrification applications. The work will use Rwanda as the main study case with the cooperation of the University of Rwanda, that will provide support for the derivation of models and will study and characterise the most interesting productive uses of electricity to meet the specific needs in rural Rwanda. The work will also be carried in collaboration with BBOXX and Meshpower, two British companies started by alumni of Imperial College London that commercialise AESS in several countries around the world including Rwanda.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk