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Former carpenter and roofer scaling new heights with future grid projects

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A FORMER carpenter, who 10 years ago, didn’t even know how to insert a USB stick into a computer, is now playing a lead role in two global smart grid projects which are securing and safeguarding our electricity supply for a future beyond 5G which will have a far greater renewable energy input.

Father of two, Dave Ryan, said he had two choices when the downturn hit and building work disappeared overnight – either upskill and get computer literate or head abroad as 15 of his 20 former site colleagues did.

The expert roofer signed up for an introductory IT program at Waterford Institute of Technology and found he’d a natural flair for software development and technical writing. He’s now working on the exciting, global RESERVE and SOGNO projects which include input from the ESB.

The south Wexford man is now scaling very different heights in his work with like-minded experts from industry and academia around the world on the H2020 funded projects from his base at the Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at WIT.

SOGNO will provide next generation, data-driven, remote monitoring of electrical power for energy suppliers. RESERVE focuses on integrating renewables such as wind, solar and biomass as power sources for the future grid network. And because security and stability of electricity supply is a key world-wide priority, both cutting-edge projects are fascinating, challenging and rewarding, Dave says.

“Carpentry requires a lot of mathematical skill and calculation. I really loved my job. I found out very quickly when I went to upskill that I loved coding.  I did an Information Technology program, then Software Systems Development. I began developing android apps and later worked on a Safer Cycling project and the Aquasmart initiative.

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TSSG team leading the charge on stable, secure beyond 5G future grid projects

Miguel and Dave 3

TECH experts at a top Irish research and innovation hub have teamed up with industry and carefully-selected global partners to catapult the age-old electricity grid into a future beyond 5G and ensure it is secure, stable and renewables compatible.

They’ve won significant, coveted European Commission backing to power the RESERVE and SOGNO projects, both of which provide cutting-edge global solutions for the future grid and ensure it has a bright, sustainable future.

Strict renewable energy targets and the increased proliferation of solar, wind, and biomass are affecting the physics of the energy grid as classical networks are based on physical electromechanical systems.

A research team of the Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at the Waterford Institute of Technology, is at the coalface, rethinking, re-designing, testing and future proofing the basics of grid control and grid automation. They are one of three Irish research partners on the project that has assembled with an expert team of European future grid specialists to work with industry and test solutions.

Industry challenges they’re addressing include substituting the role of synchronous machines in future power systems; making the grid more reactive to changes and working out with industry what role information and  communication infrastructures will play in the future grid network and more.

It’s all being tested and validated in Ireland by the multi-skilled Irish team using pan-European, real time simulation infrastructure with ESB Networks, project leader, Miguel Ponce de Leon explained.

“TSSG is looking at the impact of having such a large number of voltage measurement points in converters at electric generation and storage units in distribution grid network.

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Using Bacteria to Collect and Pick up Ebola Virus: A Computational Study

Currently, Ebola virus outbreak is affecting the Republic Democratic of Congo. While the vaccines developed during the last outbreak in 2014 are still being tested, researchers are investigating other treatment solutions to curb this disease. The TSSG is conducting research on alternative approaches for post-exposure treatment to clean the Ebola virus from the blood of infected patients, using concepts from molecular communications. This approach is based on the use of a microfluidic device containing engineered bacteria that will swim and pick-up the Ebola virus onto its surface, acting like a sponge.

Fig 1, Ebola Virus Research

           

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 Figure 1. Representation of the proposed post-exposure treatment for Ebola viurs infection. The patient blood will circulate through the microfluidic chamber and a fraction of the Ebola virus will be captured by the engineered bacteria. (a) Molecular communications representation of the virus trapping process. (b) Inside the microfluidic chamber, the bacteria will swim towards the Ebola virus. (c) The engineered bacteria after trapping the Ebola virus.

For this theoretical work a specific bacterial strain (E. coli) was used, where the proteins on the bacterial surface are engineered to bind with the virus upon contact.  The evaluation of the strength of the attachment between these membrane proteins was an important metric for the proposed approach, where a computational model was developed. As the engineered bacteria moves inside the microfluidic chamber, different tensions will act on the attachment point that can lead to the virus pealing off. Therefore, the research compared the attachment forces with these different tensions that are produced by the running and tumbling motion of the bacteria.,

 Simulations were performed to validate this pick-up process. Results showed that the average pick-up ratio achieved for 5000 engineered bacteria was above 50% after 12 minutes. From the pick-up results we were able to fit a mathematical function that can be used to predict the time needed to collect a certain number of Ebola virus. We envision the application of this solution to help curb other deadly virus and prevent more deaths related to these kinds of infections. The research was conducted in collaboration with Tampere University of Technology, Finland; University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA; and the University of Cambridge, UK.

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Figure 2. Snapshot of the engineered bacteria movement simulation inside the microfluidic chamber after 360 seconds. For this scenario, 10,000 Ebola virus was placed in a squared chamber of 1 cm2. and 3,000 engineered bacteria were freed along the y-axis (x=0) to move and pick-up the virus.

Publication Title: Computational Models for Trapping Ebola Virus Using Engineered Bacteria

Authors: Daniel P. Martins, Michael T. Barros, Massimiliano Pierobon, Meenakshisundaram Kandhavelu, Pietro Lio’, Sasitharan Balasubramaniam

Journal: IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics  (November/December, 2018)

Link: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8359015/

 

TSSG Researcher explores the use of Cognitive Radio Networks as a method to improve the Wireless Radio Spectrum

Satellite communication parabolic dish radar antenna or astronom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wireless radio spectrum is a scarce resource and a few chunks of the bandwidth of these licensed frequency bands sells at auctions for multi-billion dollar prices by the national regulatory authorities.

Efforts have been made to improve the spectral utilization. The idea of using cognitive radio network for efficient spectrum utilization is one such an effort. Cognitive  radio  networks  (CRNs) also have  the flexibility  to adjust their transmission parameters according to the needs of multimedia services or applications. For  this reason, wireless multimedia cognitive  radio networks (WMCRNs) have gained much attentions in today’s research domain.  This  paper presents a comprehensive survey of WMCRNs. Various multimedia  applications supported by CRNs, and various CR-based wireless networks are surveyed. The paper highlights the routing and link layer protocols used for WMCRNs, and also covers the quality-of-experience(QoE) design and security requirements for transmitting multimedia content over CRNs. It also provides an in-depth study of white space, TV white space, and cross-layer designs that have been used for WMCRNs. The survey also discusses the major spectrum sensing approaches used for the communications of bandwidth hungry and time-critical data over CRNs.

Publication Title: Wireless Multimedia Cognitive Radio Networks: A Comprehensive Survey

Authors: Muhammad Amjad, Mubashir Husain Rehmani and Shiwen Mao

Journal: IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials (to appear, 2018) Link: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8260890/

TSSG researches the importance of integrating Renewable Energy into the Grid

Smart Grid conceptual abstract

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The current electricity grid is transforming into a smarter grid a.k.a, Smart Grid (SG). One of  the  major  goals  of  the  SG  is to  move towards 100%  electricity  generation  from  RERs,  i.e., towards a  100%  renewable  grid. In fact, rising  energy  costs,  losses in  the  present-day  electricity  grid,  risks  from  nuclear  power generation,  and  global environmental  changes  are  motivating  a transformation  of  the conventional  ways  of  generating  electricity.

Globally, there is a desire to rely more on renewable energy resources (RERs) for electricity generation.  RERs reduce greenhouse gas emissions and may have economic benefits, e.g., through applying demand side management with dynamic pricing so as to shift loads from fossil fuel-based generators to RERs. However, the disparate, intermittent, and typically widely geographically distributed nature of RERs complicates  the  integration  of  RERs into  the  SG.  Moreover, individual RERs have generally lower capacity than conventional fossil-fuel plants, and these RERs are based on a wide spectrum of different technologies.  This paper provides an overview of recent efforts that aim to integrate RERs into the SG. It outlines the integration of RERs into the SG along with their supporting communication networks. The paper also discusses ongoing projects that seek to integrate RERs into the SG around the globe. Finally, future research directions on integrating RERs into the SG are outlined.

Publication Title: Integrating Renewable Energy Resources into the Smart Grid: Recent Developments in Information and Communication Technologies

Authors: Mubashir Husain Rehmani, Martin Reisslein, Abderrezak Rachedi, Melike Erol Kantarci, and Milena Radenkovic,

Journal: The IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics (to appear, 2018).

Link: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8325326/

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