Engineering Mathematics for the environment

Using Engineering Mathematics to develop pioneering approaches by fusing artificial intelligence with traditional modelling techniques to help meet carbon emission targets.

One of the predicted consequences of climate change is that extreme weather events are likely to become much more common. The huge social and economic implications of this have led to the creation of a multidisciplinary research centre involving members of the Department, and inspired many student projects. The result has been the development of pioneering new approaches that fuse artificial intelligence approaches with more traditional modelling techniques, to deal with the inevitable imprecision and uncertainty in models and data.

The UK has committed itself to reducing carbon emissions by half by 2025. This may seem a long time away, but as of 2010 only seven per cent of our electricity comes from renewable sources; this figure needs to rise dramatically. Researchers in Engineering Mathematics are working closely with colleagues in Electrical and Electronic Engineering to make that happen. We are developing cutting edge mathematical models which can predict the performance of wind turbines and hydro-power systems and, more importantly, predict what happens when you have many of them working together on the same site.

Other avenues of research are looking at technologies such as smart grids where instead of just taking power from the electricity grid, we communicate our energy needs directly to the electricity suppliers and then adapt based on what they can supply. These new technologies require sophisticated mathematical algorithms to keep them working and to make sure everyone has the electricity they need.

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