Energy Seminar – Week 3 HT24: MSc in Energy Systems dissertation projects, understanding university building energy consumption & Green hydrogen in South Africa

Laurence Peinturier, DPhil candidate, Engineering Science, Colin Kinghorn, MSc Energy Systems alumnus

Laurence Peinturier, DPhil candidate, Engineering Science

Summary: Limiting global warming to 1.5°C necessitates a significant reduction in energy demand and an increase in energy efficiency, particularly within the building sector; responsible for 26% of global energy-related emissions and 25% of UK emissions in 2022.

Among UK buildings, higher education institutions (HEIs) rank second in energy intensity, due to their diverse array of activities, spaces, and age. To reduce this elevated energy demand, new methodologies are required to analyse HEIs energy use and uncover potential performance gaps. Well understood digital twin simulations are valuable for this purpose, to identify the causes of these gaps and to allow interventions to be tested virtually before modifying buildings’ controls or equipment, or asking occupants to change behaviour.

In this presentation, Laurence will showcase how digital twin simulations can effectively
address performance gaps in newly constructed buildings during their operational phase. The research focused on the Andrew Wiles Building (Mathematical Institute) at the University of Oxford, using digital twin simulations to assess its energy performance and propose interventions that could lead to a 20% reduction in electricity consumption.

Laurence will discuss her work on the building’s digital performance assessment, emphasising the significance of accurate digital twin simulations while also addressing limitations and challenges, which can guide future research and recommendations for a smart, efficient, and sustainable net zero built environment.

Speaker: Laurence is a DPhil candidate in Engineering Science at the Oxford e-Research
Centre. Her research focuses on the use of digital twin technology for buildings energy
performance assessment. She works under the supervision of Professor David Wallom and Dr Phil Grunewald. Laurence completed her MSc in Energy Systems at the University of Oxford last year. She also holds a BEng in mechanical engineering from McGill University, Canada.

Speaker: Colin Kinghorncompleted the MSc in Energy Systems at the University of Oxford in 2023 as a Rhodes Scholar. His dissertation under Rene Bañares-Alcántara presented a techno-economic optimisation of green hydrogen and ammonia supply to the steel and ammonia industries in Southern Africa. Before the MSc in Energy Systems, Colin spent two years working as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, developing private and public sector decarbonisation strategies. He is now reading for the MSc in Education (Digital & Social Change) at Oxford while running a startup that uses machine learning tools to de-risk financing of commercial solar irrigation systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

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