Page Details

Research Areas of Energy Studies

The Energy Studies has been identified the following research areas on the basis of current national and global demands and/or needs:

Energy Studies:

      1. Future energy resources and sustainability

      2. Smart energy systems

      3. Energy policy, auditing and management

1. Future energy resources and sustainability:

Nuclear energy, solar energy, and energy from biomass, water current and wind are just a few of the promising alternatives for a cleaner and greener future. Other relatively new sources of energy such as fuel cells, hydrogen fuel, geothermal energy, and ocean energy are also being explored.

As the worldwide demand for power continues to surge, nuclear energy is gaining increasing importance as a clean source that is expected to address the global issue of climate change. There are currently 439 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries worldwide. 

Almost everything in this world ultimately derives its energy from the sun. The earth receives about 174 billion megawatts of power in the upper atmosphere as a result of solar radiation. About 30% of the incident solar radiation is reflected back, while the remaining, which amounts to 3.85 × 1024 Joules every year, is absorbed by the atmosphere, oceans and landmasses. Heat and light radiation from the sun can be harnessed through the use of semiconductor solar panels, solar collectors, solar cookers, solar coolers, etc.

Biofuel is the general term for energy derived from materials such as wood, leaves, straw, oilseeds, or animal wastes which are or were recent, living matter, referred to collectively as biomass. Wood pellets, charcoal, bioethanol, biodiesel, pyro-oil, syngas, biogas, etc. are all examples of energy-rich materials derived from biomass.

Hydropower schemes and wind farms are constructed to harness mechanical energy from the water and wind, respectively and convert it into electrical energy. These hydropower schemes and wind farms are then connected to electrical power transmission networks for the distribution of power. On average, only 20 to 40 percent of the total energy capacity of hydropower schemes and wind farms can be utilized.

Fuel cells are similar to batteries but use reactants from an external source, as opposed to batteries that are self-contained. If the fuel and oxidant levels in fuel cells are properly maintained, power can be generated almost continuously. The efficiency of fuel cells is proportional to the power being drawn from it. They are also lightweight and extremely reliable.

Hydrogen is one of the clean energy sources. Hydrogen fuel can be produced through thermal processes, electrolytic processes, solar-driven processes and biological processes. Hydrogen is an attractive fuel option for transportation and electricity generation applications. It can be used in cars, in houses, for portable power, and in many more applications.

The interior of the Earth contains a lot of heat. Shallow regions contain hot water, rock and steam. Deeper inside, the magma is intensely hot. This heat can be harnessed to produce electrical energy and drive various applications. Harnessing geothermal energy requires no fuel and minimal land. It is relatively cheap and a very sustainable source of energy since the amount of heat contained in the earth bed is so vast that even if we harness more energy than we require, it will still suffice for millions of years to come.

The oceans are vast and contain huge amounts of energy in the water currents, and thermal and salinity gradients. The energy from tides and waves can be harnessed to produce electrical energy. The differences in temperature that occur with varying depths can be used to drive heat engines, which in turn produce electric power.

Sustainable development is a kind of development that satisfies the needs of the present without adversely affecting the ability of future generations to satisfy their needs. Development considering - human, social, economic and environmental - is known as the four pillars of sustainability. Harnessing solar/ wind energy to provide power for homes, offices, and other buildings or to pump water is one of the best examples of sustainable development. After all, solar/ wind is a clean and free resource.

New sources of power generation will undoubtedly be needed to meet skyrocketing world energy demand. RUET researchers are positioned to lead efforts to support a scalable, innovative, and clean energy portfolio that meets the world’s need for reliable energy sources while considering the economic, environmental, health and climate effects of energy generation. These technologies include, but are not limited to:

  • Nuclear energy
  • Solar energy
  • Biomass and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) energy
  • Hydropower
  • Wind energy
  • Fuel cells
  • Hydrogen fuel
  • Geothermal energy
  • Ocean energy
  • Sustainability study of future energy systems

2. Smart energy systems:

A smart energy system is an approach in which smart electricity, thermal and gas grids are combined with storage technologies and coordinated to identify synergies between them in order to achieve an optimal solution for each individual sector as well as for the overall energy system. This means combining the electricity, thermal, and transport sectors so that the flexibility across these different areas can compensate for the lack of flexibility from renewable resources such as wind and solar. The smart energy system is built around three grid infrastructures:

  • Smart electricity grids connect flexible electricity demands such as heat pumps and electric vehicles to intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar power. 
  • Smart thermal grids (district heating and cooling) to connect the electricity and heating sectors. This enables the utilization of thermal storage for creating additional flexibility and the recycling of heat losses in the energy system. 
  • Smart gas grids connect the electricity, heating, and transport sectors. This enables the utilization of gas storage for creating additional flexibility. If the gas is refined to liquid fuel, then liquid fuel storage can also be utilized.

IEES will foster and build knowledge in smart energy systems by focusing on topics such as:

  • Carbon capture, storage and reuse (CCSR) technology
  • Energy storage.
  • Smart grid and net metering
  • Intelligence system related to energy capturing/ transportation/ storage/ utilization and so on.

3. Energy policy, auditing and management:

Energy policy has traditionally played a strong role in setting the framework for regulations in the energy sector. Energy policy is the manner in which a given entity (often governmental) has decided to address issues of  energy development including energy production, distribution and consumption.  Energy policies are the actions governments take to affect the demand for energy as well as the supply of it. These actions include the ways in which governments cope with  energy supply, disruptions and their efforts to influence energy consumption and economic growth. To achieve this goal, measures such as technological progress, market regulation, and system guidance have been taken to support the policy objectives of promoting energy development and ensuring a more adequate supply of energy, while encouraging energy conservation and efficiency, and controlling rapid energy demand.

An energy audit is an inspection survey and an analysis of energy flows for energy conservation in a building. It may include a process or system to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output. Carried out by experts, an energy audit involves a comprehensive analysis of your premises, indicating how efficient your current practices are and where you can reduce energy consumption and lower costs.

Energy management is the method of tracking and optimizing energy consumption to conserve usage. Important steps for the technique of energy management: (i) collecting and analyzing continuous data (ii) identify optimizations in equipment schedules, setpoints and flow rates to improve energy efficiency (iii) calculate return on investment (iv) execute energy optimization solutions and (v) repeat step two to continue optimizing energy efficiency.

IEES provides facilities for the development of knowledge in energy policy, auditing and management by focusing on the following topics:

  • Energy policy (can be directed at four high-level objectives: economic development, geopolitical security, environmental enhancement, and public acceptability).
  • Energy planning and market concept
  • Integrated resource planning
  • Sustainable energy planning
  • Energy audits (preliminary, targeted and detailed energy audits)
  • Energy monitoring and targeting
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy conservation and management
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Relationship between energy demand and supply