466153 Smart City, Smart Energy, Smart Decision Making

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Xiaonan Wang, Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

Research Interests:

Integrated system thinking and analyses are more and more important for sustainable development by addressing challenges in natural resources, economic sectors, and human behaviours in a systematic manner. Process systems engineering has abundant modelling, simulation, and optimization tools to solve these complex problems through a comprehensive ‘system of systems’ approach. My research focuses on the demand side management of the constantly growing and developing populations, and sustainable provisioning of energy, water and material resources to satisfy needs, as well as the subsequent processing and management of wastes and pollutions. The nexus among energy-water-food is a representative example to adopt system engineering tools for overall economic, environmental and social benefits improvements.

I am developing a decision-making platform that combines comprehensive database, agent based simulation and resource technology network optimization, to deal with the challenges of energy, water, transportation and many interlinked systems in urban development. The open-source, data-driven, integrated systematic tool can gather social, environmental and economic data in a bottom-up approach to inform urban planning, investment and policy­making for city regions globally. Long-term socio-economic scenarios with temporal and spatial feedback loops are addressed to form smart city development strategies.

From macro-level down to detailed systems, sustainable energy and water treatment technologies are studied as fundamental to system analyses. I am researching smart energy management strategies for both generation and demand side with applications to residential and industrial users, as well as emerging technologies. For example, hybrid renewable energy systems (HRES) that consist of photovoltaic thermal, wind, fuel cells, and diesel generator as a backup resource as well as storage components turn to be a promising solution to overcome the drawbacks of single-resource systems. Compared with traditional operation of energy systems, the on-line process I am developing that combines sensors, optimizers and controllers to realize real-time prediction, optimization and demand-responsive scheme will improve system efficiency and take better advantage of all available resources.

Postdoctoral Project:  “Water and Energy Systems in Sustainable City Development - Resilience.IO Resource Economic Human Ecosystem Modeling Platform”

Team under supervision of Professor Nilay Shah, Centre of Process Systems Engineering, Imperial College London.

PhD Dissertation:  Modeling, Operation and Optimization of Energy Systems Integrating Demand Management

Co-advised by Professor Ahmet Palazoglu and Professor Nael H. El-Farra, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Teaching Interests:

The philosophy of Knowing, Acting, and Being in education constitute my teaching career to encourage students’ engagement, practice, and confidence, during instructing a course or even as simple as teaching a concept, method or software. I look upon a deeper connection between theory and practice when leading a class and creating impressive moments by challenging students and challenging myself in the meantime. Whether for teaching the classic mathematic theories and methods that remain the same, or engineering skills that advance with time, I would put the topics in context, evolve my teaching style and optimize class materials timely to always make the learning and teaching experience satisfactory and pleasant from the feedback of my students. It is the best reward to a teacher to witness how the “WOW” moments positively impact the students’ career and life.

I had more than five-year teaching experience giving lectures with excellent ratings, for courses such as computational methods, process design and analysis, separations and unit operations. I was also the instructor for a series of software and tools training such as Aspen Plus and Matlab application. I supervised more than 10 undergraduate and master students’ research projects. As a junior faculty member, I bear the mission to foster cooperation and ambition to bridge interdisciplinary researchers and build up a cooperative environment. I would organize series of webinars by inviting prestigious experts in the specific fields to discuss the trending topics by sharing knowledge and insights. With my broad exposure to the research environment of the U.S., UK, Asia, and Africa, I can take the advantage to unite researchers for global collaboration. It is also vital to use research models and results to get involved in government policy making internationally and engage the public to build collaborative communities that expand beyond the academic campus. I had some good practice and will transform the research output through more channels.

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