Inside the £7m project helping make European homes greener
At a time when slowing the speed of climate change has arguably never been more important, a Leeds Beckett University-led project is developing a solution that could make homes across the UK and Europe more efficient.
The RED WoLF project, led by Dr Giuseppe Colantuono, aims to reduce CO2 emissions in home through a smart storage system that uses thermal and battery storage combined with a data-driven algorithm by taking the electricity containing the lowest CO2 content from the grid, increasing demand, and making more room for green energy.
The £7.3m project, which has received financial support from the European Union, through the Interreg NWE programme, is developing 100 homes across 7 pilot sites in the UK and Europe to test the system.
Read more from Dr Colantuono about the scheme, the progress that has been made so far and future plans.
Can you give a brief overview of the scheme?
RED Wolf advocates for electrification of heating and the usage of both rooftop-generated solar power and of the renewable electricity available on the power grid to replace fossil fuels.
We, as a partnership, designed and are currently implementing an original energy system (the Hybrid Storage System or HSS) where Artificial Intelligence algorithms combine batteries with thermal storage, for both domestic hot water and space heating.
This maximises the intake of renewables in the houses and enables the grid to distribute a higher fraction of renewable electricity from intermittent sources (solar and wind in particular).
Our HSS is being implemented in 100 Pilot houses in France, UK, Ireland, and Luxembourg.
What made you interested in this area of research?
I started as a mathematical physicist interested in Earth fluid dynamics (ocean, atmosphere, and climate). In 2010, I moved towards several aspects of solar energy generation which is dominated by climate and weather. From that point on I have been increasingly involved in the energy transition.
How did the opportunity to undertake this project come about?
Like many university researchers, I apply for funding to keep and progress my job forward. The opportunity of applying was discussed internally and approved by the Dean at the time. I submitted the RED Wolf proposal to Interreg North-West Europe’s call number six and got it approved. The application was a two-step process and took me more than a year to prepare for.
How has your expertise been used on the project?
I designed the project in collaboration with co-investigators in the partner organisations. Since the award was made in April 2019, I have led the implementation of the project. From the technical standpoint my main contribution has been in algorithm design and in making our HSS system and pilot houses compatible with the energy system.
How has the project progressed so far?
We are at about 60% of the way towards the implementation timeline. Half of the pilots have been procured and installed; with monitoring starting early next year. Significant scientific results based on the pilot design and computer simulations have been published in top academic journals. The project concept and design have been disseminated across Europe and beyond with events, collaborations, publications, and social media activities.
Are there any other LBU academics involved?
Dr Alexander Shukhobodskyi and Dr Aleksandr Zaitcev from the School of Built Environment Engineering & Computing are working full time on RED WoLF, and we’ve received more occasional support from other academics as well.
How important do you think it is that the university continues to work on sustainability/energy efficiency projects like this?
From my point of view these are hot topics but every researcher considers what they do to be important so it is not easy to be impartial. This said, the energy transition is becoming a global priority as a response to the current climate emergency.
Find out more about the project here.
Giuseppe is a tenured researcher active in environmental and applied physics. He is the PI of two European projects on sustainable energy totalling €7.4m, and of an internal grant on automated detection/response to Covid-19 in public buildings.