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Energy and electronic engineering research

Explore our work in this area of research expertise, which covers control systems, intelligent systems and signal and image processing

Electrical power systems are changing. With the introduction of new data communication technologies, including metering, power electronic converters, artificial intelligence (AI), and computing technologies, this is leading to the development of what is known as the Smart Grid. These changes have a focus on integrating renewable forms of energy, and more efficient energy storage.

But with this transformation, there are new challenges to consider in their planning, design and operation. We're looking at how best to address these challenges, and maximise opportunities to enhance the efficiency, sustainability, security and reliability of our power grid.

This area of expertise encompasses a range of activities related to energy and electronic engineering. Our work explores methods and theories, as well as their application in tackling real world problems and challenges. We bring together researchers with expertise in electrical power systems, renewable energy, control systems, robotics, intelligent systems and signal processing.

We've had an impact in the safety of nuclear power plants in India, the adoption of clean solar energy in the 2 seas region of northern Europe, the development of an energy autonomous community in the Isle of Wight, disruption analysis tools for the railway industry, and establishing a condition monitoring system for Stork Food and Dairy Systems to predict catastrophic failures in machinery.

Our work is regularly published by leading academic journals within the field, including the Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, the Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy, Progress in Nuclear Energy, Reliability Engineering and System Safety, and Applied Energy.

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Innovative Industrial Research Group

Find out more about the research we're doing within our Innovative Industrial Research Group, where we're exploring how artificial intelligence (AI) can help improve the performance of different products and services.

Our research looks at the following topics

  • Control systems – These govern, or regulate, how a process behaves over time. For example automobiles, aircraft, robotic arms and power grids are full of control systems which are needed for their safe and stable operation. Our research develops methods for computational optimal control, fault tolerant control, nonlinear control, fault diagnosis and state estimation. This enhances the operation and safety of processes and systems, for example in nuclear power plants, energy storage systems, autonomous aerial vehicles, and robotic prosthesis.
  • Intelligent systems – This refers to the theory and application of systems that perceive, reason, learn, and act intelligently to achieve their objectives. We're exploring ways of using machine learning for autonomous driving, as well as anomaly detection in industrial systems, such as marine engines and trains.
  • Signal and image processing – This is the theory and practice of algorithms and hardware that convert signals produced by artificial or natural means into a form that can be used for a specific purpose. We're addressing challenges and developing methods in the areas of digital signal processing, image and video compression, classification, analysis and processing, and speech.

Methods and facilities

Some of the methods we use include theoretical and computer modelling numerical simulation, parameter estimation and optimisation, statistical analysis, as well as experimentation on laboratory scale plants, autonomous vehicles and robotic prosthesis.

We have equipment for real-time control, including hardware-in-the loop (HIL) simulator, generators and electric motors, digital signal processing equipment, industrial robot arms, robotic hands and prosthesis, as well as autonomous aerial vehicles.

Funders and collaborations

We're working with energy companies including EON and SEE, as well as companies including QuinetiQ, South Western Railways and DSTL.

We have links with the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Councils, and collaborate with institutions across the globe. These include Bhabba Atomic Research Centre, and Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research in India, the University of Picardie Jules Verne in France, KU Leuven in Belgium, the University of Cantabria in Spain, and several universities in the UK. We also have connections with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).

Our work is frequently funded by major funding organisations, such as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Interreg 2 Seas, a European Territorial Cooperation Programme covering England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders), that's part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.