Juan C. Vasquez - Energiteknik

The Energy Internet - Integrating Internet of Things into the Smart Grid

To begin with: where are you from?

I was born in Bogota, Colombia.

Why did you apply to be a part of the talent programme?

My personal motivation was initially, to strength my technical competences by proposing a new emerging research field in energy domain, more specifically in Microgrids area; and secondly, to have an opportunity to improve my leadership and project management skills. In addition, I want to contribute together with my research team, a better quality of life and energy savings to the Danish consumers by means of the integration of Internet-of-Things (IoT) smart solutions and renewable ‘green’ electricity.   

What is your research project more specifically about?

Please allow me to introduce the problem first. Nowadays, new markets, regulatory structures and new energy services within what we call the smart grid, seem to be the response to profound changes in the way that energy should be generated, stored, managed and finally consumed.

In conjunction with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the Internet-of-Things (IoT) is now present in our daily lives and it is currently giving us more and more intelligent and automated systems in order to improve our comfort levels and also to optimize energy efficiency at home by means of comprehensive solutions for connectivity, manageability, and cyber-security. On the other side, the exponential number of this smart devices (Denmark is the second place after South Korea with 32.7 devices online per 100 inhabitants), together with the recent proliferation of green technologies such as wind, photovoltaic installations and energy storage systems which are not only interconnected electrically, but also sharing information by means of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) make the overall energy and information coordination, integration and controllability a challenging real world problem.

Therefore, the proposed project research will focus on the development and integration of energy models, methods and tools that will enable a new level of intelligence and effectiveness together with ICT infrastructures for a user‐interactive energy system which can also be called The Energy Internet.

Have you thought about how your project can contribute to bringing knowledge into the world?

Absolutely! with the Energy Internet we want to create a research and innovation path by considering the current technical and technological challenges in order to ease the adoption and transition of IoT technologies into the future energy grid era. I truly believe that there will be a lot of research to be done in the scope of the smart-grid community.

How do you plan to spend the money? 

I will supervise a PhD student and a Postdoctoral researcher for the realization of the research-oriented project. The project will also provide funding for short research stays abroad for the hired personnel.

Furthermore, I will participate in leadership and management training courses in connection to PBL Aalborg University Model.

Minor equipment will be purchased in order to build a laboratory testbed which intends to shift the current IoT technology and power architectures from laboratory scale into use case energy domains.

What does it mean to you to be accepted into the programme?

I am very fortunate to belong to this selected group of talented people. There are lots of young talents in several areas and disciplines in our university, that for me, the fact to be accepted is already a reward and a recognition for many years of dedication, effort and hard work in the correct direction. On the other hand, this distinction keeps my motivation high enough to continue researching in what I like.

What do you hope to achieve with your research project?

I hope this project will provide technological, energy management solutions and the more efficient use of green electricity. In fact, with Energy Internet I hope to increase the synergy between Aalborg University, IoT and energy sectors at international vision, and on the other hand, to give the active consumers (prosumers) the tools to monitor their electricity usage in their buildings/neighbourhoods, optimize their energy efficiency, and share surplus green electricity generated on-site. Finally, with this project I hope to be an inspiration to young researchers and new generations to bring the world into a sustainable energy future.

Who is your role model within the research world?

First at all, I want to mention that my father will always be my role model in everything I do and what I have achieved so far, to whom I would like to dedicate this recognition. Secondly, I thank my mentor, Josep M. Guerrero who with his encouragement and commitment during these years, has given me the research and pedagogical methods to be a great researcher and facilitator.

What do you see as the most interesting research result within your field of research?

The most significant result I have seen during my research is the adoption and the efficient use of Microgrids worldwide in order to supply green electricity on-site (e.g rural areas and real islands). This way, the energy can be generated and stored near to the consumption points, improving the stability and reducing the losses produced by the large power lines. I am very satisfied with this result, since Microgrids research allows me to continue bringing new ideas to decrease the continuous use of fossil fuels for electricity production.