07 December 2021

Work on network planning wins REN Award for best doctoral thesis

The REN Award, one of the oldest scientific awards bestowed in Portugal, selected two students from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto as the winners of Master's and Doctoral Theses. The ceremony for the 26th REN Award ceremony took place on December 6th, at 5:00 PM, with a live broadcast on Jornal Expresso's Facebook page. (The video is available here) . 

Fabian Heymann was the winner of the Doctoral Thesis with 'Technology diffusion models in power system planning and policy design', a work that facilitates the assessment of uncertainties introduced by insufficient representations of the dynamics of technology adoption in the planning of electricity networks. The winning Master's Thesis, 'Robust OPF', by Pedro Ferreira da Silva, is a dissertation in which a set of methodologies are presented to address the DC OPF (DC Optimal Power Flow) when system loads are uncertain. 

'REN is deeply proud of the REN Award.  Throughout its 26 years of existence, we have had the privilege of witnessing excellent work in the field of energy, developed by students in Portuguese universities. It is our conviction that the work carried out in academia has supported developments in the energy sector, at a time when the energy transition towards a more sustainable future is one of the most relevant challenges of our society. The work in the field of energy over the past two decades in Portugal is impressive, and at REN we like to think that the support we have provided over the years has contributed to this change. And it is this belief in the importance of research carried out by academia that has led us, more recently, to focus on supporting the work developed by young people from Portuguese-speaking African countries in the areas of energy and energy transition. In partnership with Centro Ciência LP and the Foundation for Science and Technology, we want the good results achieved in Portugal to be replicated in Portuguese-speaking African countries', said Rodrigo Costa, CEO of REN.

The second best Master's Thesis, 'Comparison between traditional network reinforcement and the use of DER flexibility', a work about distribution network planning, also belongs to a FEUP student: Tiago Almeida Torres. In third place was Nassir Rodrigues Cassamo, from Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, with 'Model Predictive Control for Wake Steering: a Koopman Dynamic Mode Decomposition Approach', a work focused on the optimisation of wind farms.

REN Award's jury also decided to award two honourable mentions to two students from Instituto Superior Técnico. The first, 'Feasibility of Wind Energy for Hydrogen Production: the WindFloat Atlantic case-study', by Tiago José Rosário Lucas, a Master's Thesis on the feasibility of this park, located in Viana do Castelo, for the production of hydrogen. 'Using energy storage systems in electricity markets', by Inês Reis Gaspar, on the optimal operation strategy of storage systems in electricity markets, was the other honoured Master's Thesis.

Medals of Scientific Merit 

This year, the REN Award broadened the scope of its recognitions, by awarding as well young people from Portuguese-speaking African countries with the 'Medalhas de Mérito Científico REN - Ciência LP' (Cientific Merit Medals), a prize inspired by REN Award that results from a partnership between REN, Centro Ciência LP and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT).  The awarded students have undertaken research projects as part of their advanced training (master or doctorate) in areas of energy transition, in general, and in Africa. 

In the Young Students category, Denis Albertino dos Santos (Cape Verde) was the winner with the Master's Thesis in Electrical Engineering - Energy and Industrial Automation, with the title 'Optimisation of Power Transit of the MV Network with Storage Technology in Sal Island'. In second place was Adyler Frota (São Tomé and Príncipe), for his Integrated Master's Thesis in Energy and Environment, on 'Optical Performance Optimisation of Crystalline Silicon Samples using MACE'.

In the Women Researchers category, the winner was Felicidade Pemba Kinzo Garcia (Angola) for her Master's Thesis 'The Control of a Three-phase PWM Regenerative Rectifier', while Luzia Mendes Oliveira came in second place with 'The Sustainability of Development in Cape Verde in the Context of Small Island States: The Public Energy Policy'.

'Energy prices' debate

Following the REN Award ceremony, a debate entitled 'Energy prices', took place. Moderated by SIC's journalist Rosa Oliveira Pinto it included the Deputy Secretary of State for Energy, João Galamba, REN's COO, João Conceição, Professor João Peças Lopes, who is also President of the REN Award Jury, and the Vice-President of CIP, Rafael Campos Pereira.

The debate was live broadcast on Jornal Expresso's Facebook page on the 6th december and will be broadcast today, 7th december, at SIC Notícias channel, a 8:00 PM.

About REN Award

Created in 1995, the REN Award is a prize for the best master's theses in the field of energy written by students of Engineering, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Information Systems and Computer Science. In 2019, the REN Award honoured doctoral theses for the first time, this award being granted only every two years. 

Winning theses in each of the 26 editions of the REN Award have been following the defining changes and developments that have shaped the energy sector, anticipating challenges, identifying problems, and putting forward innovative solutions, thus contributing to the development of the energy sector in Portugal and strengthening the interaction between REN and academia.

The winner of the Best Thesis Award will receive a cash prize of €25,000. Second place receives a prize of €15,000 and third place receives €10,000. Each honourable mention will receive a prize of €2,500. The winner of the Best Doctoral Thesis receives €30,000. The winner of the Medal of Merit is awarded €5,000, while the runner-up receives €2,500.


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