Keynote 1: Role of the Smart Grid and Microgrid in Decarbonization

Pr. Saifur Rahman

Director, Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, USA

President, IEEE Power & Energy Society, 2018 AND 2019 - 2023 IEEE President & CEO

Abstract: With the focus on environmental sustainability and energy security, power system planners are looking at renewable energy as agents of decarbonization to help with climate sustainability. But such generation sources have their own challenges – primarily intermittency. It is expected that the smart grid – due to its inherent communication, sensing and control capabilities – will have the ability to manage the load, storage and generation assets (including renewables) in the power grid to enable a large-scale integration of distributed generation. In a smart grid, information about the state of the grid and its components can be exchanged quickly over long distances and complex networks. It will therefore be possible to have the integration of sustainable energy sources, such as wind, solar, off-shore electricity, etc. for smoother system operation. But, in order to build smart grids engineers will need to start with intelligent microgrids as building blocks. This lecture introduces the operational characteristics of renewable energy sources, storage devices, and various aspects of the smart grid. It also addresses the interplay among distributed generation, storage and conventional generation to provide an efficient operational strategy in the context of the smart grid.
Biograhy: Professor Saifur Rahman is the founding director of the Advanced Research Institute at Virginia Tech, USA where he is the Joseph R. Loring professor of electrical and computer engineering. He also directs the Center for Energy and the Global Environment. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and an IEEE Millennium Medal winner. He is the 2023 IEEE President and CEO and was the president of the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) for 2018 and 2019. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Electrification Magazine and the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy. He has published over 150 journal papers and has made over five hundred conference and invited presentations. He is the founder of BEM Controls, LLC, a Virginia (USA)-based software company providing building energy management solutions. He has conducted several energy efficiency, renewable energy, blockchain and sensor integration projects for Duke Energy, Tokyo Electric Power Company, the US National Science Foundation, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Energy and the State of Virginia. He has a PhD in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech.

Keynote 2: The Future of Wind Energy in the Energy Transition

Pr. James F. Manwell

Director of the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory (RERL)

University of Massachusetts Amherst , USA

Abstract: Wind energy has undergone a remarkable evolution over the last half century. The wind turbines of the 1970s were relatively small, simple machines of marginal reliability. Turbines today are far larger, more sophisticated, and more reliable. Now, the wind is expected to supply a large fraction of the world’s energy supply in the transition away from fossil fuels. In order to accomplish this, however, there is still much to be done. The focus will shift from wind turbines per se to wind energy systems in which the turbines are an important, but the not the only components. Turbines will be active, and in some cases primary, participants in larger power systems. Groups of turbines will form wind power plants whose combined output will be comparable to the largest conventional power plants of the present time. These wind power plants will operate together with energy storage, power electronics, integrative control systems and hydrogen based fuel production (power-to-X) in ways that were heretofore almost inconceivable. This presentation will provide an overview of the ongoing and emerging developments in wind energy science and technology that will enable the wind power systems of the future: atmospheric science, materials, turbine design, wind power plant control and powerto-X.
Biograhy: James F. Manwell is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Founding Director of the University’s Wind Energy Center. Prof. Manwell has been working in the field on wind energy for more than 35 years, both within the United States and internationally. His research interests have focused on wind turbine external design conditions, hybrid power systems, energy storage and offshore wind energy. He worked with the International Energy Agency’s wind energy program on autonomous wind energy systems and is a member of International Electrotechnical Commission’s working groups developing design standards for offshore wind turbines. He is the lead author of the text book Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design, and Application as well as numerous other publications on various aspects of wind energy.

Keynote 3: Low-cost Renewable Hydrogen using Anion Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis

Pr. Steven Holdcroft

Professor of Chemistry & Canada Research Chair

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada

Abstract: An inexpensive, environmentally friendly energy carrier must be employed to allow for the decarbonization of domestic heating, transportation, and many industrial processes. Hydrogen is widely regarded as being this primary energy carrier. Global demand of H2 is ~70 Mt H2 with just 2% produced by electrolysis. Many net zero CO2 emission strategies suggest hydrogen demand could increase ten-fold by 2050 – there is a need for increased green hydrogen production. The electrolysis of water has the biggest potential for scalability and widespread adoption, of which three electrolytic types are of various levels of maturity: alkaline water electrolysis (AWE), proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEM-WE), and anion exchange membrane water electrolysis (AEM-WE). AEM-WE which has emerged as a promising competitor for green hydrogen production at scale, as it combines the known benefits of using inexpensive non-noble metal catalysis in alkaline media with the reduced ohmic losses of cells incorporating an ultrathin polymeric membrane. This presentation will report on latest advances towards achieving low-cost renewable hydrogen and address inherent challenges of AEM-WE technology that are rapidly being overcome.
Biograhy: Dr. Steven Holdcroft is a Professor of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair, and former President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry. He researches materials for electrochemical energy conversion & storage. He is author of 300 peer-reviewed articles and 20+ patents. He was a board of director of the Canadian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Association for more than 10 years. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journals Chemistry of Materials (ACS) and Energy and Environmental Science (RSC). With three former students, he cofounded Vancouver-based Ionomr Innovations Inc., a thriving 50+ person SFU spin-out commercializing materials for clean energy. Dr. Holdcroft has received numerous awards for research and service. In 2021, he was elected to the fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2023 received a Gutenberg prize award from the Cercle Gutenberg (France).