Science Festival Interview with Professor John Thompson and Dr Aristides Kiprakis
Professor John Thompson and Dr Aristides Kiprakis of the University’s School of Engineering will explore how new technology could help balance energy supply and demand in “Powering the Future: How Will You Power Your Home in 2025?”
'Powering the Future: How Will You Power Your Home in 2025?' takes place at the Summerhall Main Hall at 5.30pm on Wednesday 6 April.
What can people coming along to your event expect to experience?
Participants will take part in a hands-on activity with Lego, which allows them to make decisions about the use of various energy sources to power their homes. They will also hear about our ADVANTAGE project (www.fp7-advantage.eu) from academics and researchers, who will explain how power and communications research contribute to the working of ‘smart grids’. At the end of the event, they will have the opportunity to meet researchers involved in the project.
What do you hope participants get out of coming along?
We expect that participants will understand better how the current electricity grid works and how it might change in the future as we move to a ‘smarter’ grid. They will also learn about managing renewable energy sources, and look ahead to solutions to matching energy supply and demand that may be in use by 2025.
Why is this an important time to be talking about balancing energy supply and demand?
Climate change is a huge international issue, and governments recently agreed major actions at the COP21 Paris talks in December 2015. Making greater use of renewable energy sources could help reduce our carbon emissions in future, but these have their own challenges, particularly in ensuring a reliable electricity supply. We will discuss these issues and how new technology could help to tackle them.
Why is taking part in the science festival important to you?
The ADVANTAGE project involves exciting research into the technical challenges of reducing carbon emissions and making the power grid smarter. Our team is taking part in the Edinburgh International Science Festival to share with the public the work we are doing and some of the key challenges. Whilst we as academics are constantly discussing our work and presenting our findings to other colleagues and researchers, we are very aware of the importance of communicating our work to the wider public as well. As one of the largest research intensive universities in the UK, it is vital that we take every opportunity to communicate our complex and challenging research in what is hopefully an accessible and engaging manner.
What impact does your work have on society?
The research that takes place in the University’s School of Engineering has significant real world impact and much of our external funding is dependent on demonstrating the potential benefits to society. If the ADVANTAGE project is successful, we hope to propose new ideas to help develop the power grids of the future, which could reduce carbon emissions while providing reliable electricity supplies.