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Off-grid Microgrids for the Electrification of Remote Communities Newton Fund Workshop

Off-grid Microgrids for the Electrification of Remote Communities Newton Fund Workshop
Admin 13.12.2018

Sam Williamson, Bristol University

The workshop was hosted by Grupo de Estudos e Desenvolvimento de Alternativas Energáticas, Universidade Federal do Pará, in collaboration with Cardiff University, in Belém, Pará, from the 10th – 14th September 2018 and sponsored by the Newton Fund, through the British Council. It brought together early career researchers from the UK and Brazil across multiple disciplines such as social science, engineering, policy, geography and economics, recognising that energy access is a multi-dimensional problem. The workshop was supported by six established research mentors, able to give advice, support and knowledge to the early career researchers on how to progress in the academic environment.

Mentors: Prof Wilson Macedo (top left), Prof Jianzhong Wu (top right), Prof Joao Pinho (bottom left) and Dr Peter Connor (bottom right). Photo credit: Sam Williamson.

All the researchers presented their work, detailing how it related to electrification of remote communities, covering topics from management and control of microgrid interfaces and energy storage systems, regulation of energy markets and operational models for system implementations, and stakeholder engagement and priorities in microgrid design. With the sharing of research areas, researchers were able to identify areas of commonality between their research, developing future research ideas.

Mentor Dr Carlos Ugalde Loo is giving insights on writing a good journal article. Photo credit: Sam Williamson.

Alongside the research goals, early career researchers were given several lectures and interactive sessions from the mentors in CV writing, career planning, research team management and authoring academic articles and proposals. This enabled the early careers researchers to learn from the experience and knowledge of the mentors, which has proved invaluable to all involved.

Mentor Dr Carlos Ugalde Loo is giving insights on writing a good journal article. Photo credit: Sam Williamson.

As part of the event, the attendees spent a day visiting off-grid communities in the Amazon Rainforest near Belém, where the issues we discussed around rural electrification were brought to the fore.

Early career researchers visiting Santa Rosa community where GEDAE team installed a microgrid. Photo credit: Kleber Lima.

Demonstration of an acai processing machine at the Vittoria community. The machine that helps the community members to process acai berries, was installed by the GEDAE team. Photo credit: Kleber Lima.

The workshop has provided an excellent experience for all involved, able to meet researchers investigating the same areas, giving a real understanding of some of the issues affecting off-grid communities and learning how to develop academic careers. The relationships made will be strengthened through future co-produced research and sharing experiences through mentoring groups. It will be something to look forward to!

Off-grid Microgrid workshop participants at the GEDAE lab. Photo credit: Kleber Lima.

 

Website: https://offgridmicrogridsbelem.wordpress.com/

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