Dr Catalina Spataru

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The UCL Energy Institute delivers world-leading learning, research and policy support on the challenges of climate change and energy security. Our approach blends expertise from across UCL, to make a truly interdisciplinary contribution to the development of a globally sustainable energy system. We are part of The Bartlett: UCL's global faculty of the built environment.



Dr. Catalina Spataru has a BSc (1st Class Hons) in Mathematics and Physics during which she spent the second semester of the third year studying in Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain with Socrates-Erasmus Programme; followed by a MSc (1st Class Hons) in Mathematics and a PhD in Gas Build-up and the frequency of explosions following releases of Natural Gas/Hydrogen mixtures in buildings obtained from Loughborough University, UK. She received several prizes and honourable mentions in mathematics competitions and scholarships for academic excellence during her studies.  

She has been studying or visiting various universities Al. I. Cuza University (Romania), Complutense de Madrid (Spain), Carnegie Mellon (USA), University of Perugia (Italy). She has been working as a researcher, university teacher, energy consultant and during her studies worked part-time as a journalist. Since 2010 she is working as a Senior Researcher at UCL Energy Institute. Currently is also part of the RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology (CEE).

Research Summary

Catalina's current research is interdisciplinary, being interested in practical research problems, which can inform policy decision makers. Her main research interests are in future energy infrastructure, the technical and economic integration of renewable energy alongside energy efficiency in dynamics energy systems, security of supply, smart super grids, prevention of power blackouts, energy networks. She collaborates closely with experts from different disciplines, taking her across disciplines. Since joining UCL she has developed new areas of research for her department: power blackouts prevention and combining energy networks (gas and electricity) to assess the impact of intermittent renewable energy sources, network/generation capacity and potential trade between countries towards a smart-super European Grid.

She has been awarded UCL Grand Challenge funding to investigate power blackouts and cascading failures learning from other disciplines (medicine, biology, finance). Also she received the Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities Catalyst Grant award, part of which she proposed and lead the development of two future scenarios as an important policy and research issue for the UK. She organised and lead the following workshops at UCL: Resource Efficient Buildings; Common Road to 2050 and Blackouts and Cascading Failures, bringing together government, industry and academic to identify policy needed for different industries.

She is working towards the development of a dynamic whole energy system model (DynEMo) which has been applied to UK and France, and an agent based model (DEAM) for electricity load profiles for substations in UK.

Her past research includes research on gas networks including the development of a mathematical model to assess the maximum percentage of Hydrogen which can be added in the existing gas network. She has also developed a mathematical model for smart grids for controlling electrical demands for heating and appliances in order to manage power distribution peaks and balance the grid; and developed simple models for individual micro distributed technologies (heat pumps, PV, wind turbines). She has been involved in field trials, developing a Smart Home software tool with a friendly user interface to determine the performance of buildings, the potential savings through behaviour change and technologies upgrade. She used different indoor localization systems for people tracking and activity recognition, including wireless networks, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and cameras.

She received the Award Trevithick Fund from Institution of Civil Engineers for the paper Low Carbon Housing Designed Informed by Research. She is a scientific committee chair for BSO'14 Second IBPSA-England conference in association with CIBSE (23-24 June 2014, London) and General chair of the SEB'14 International Conference on Sustainability in Energy and Buildings (25-27 June 2014, Cardiff).

Research outputs

A systems paradigm for integrated building design 2014 Baudains P,Bishop S,Duffour P,Marjanovic-Halburd L,Psarra S,Spataru C
An analysis of the impact of bioenergy and geosequestration in the UK future energy system in 2050 2014 SPATARU C,ZAFEIRATOU E,BARRETT M
Incorporating Building Specific Heat Loss and associated energy demand into electricity demand models for GB 2014 SHARP E,SPATARU C,BARRETT M,DODDS P
Exploring Price As a Demand Response Control Signal 2014 SWEETNAM T,SPATARU C,BARRETT M
Past Trends for the UK Energy Scenarios: How close are their predictions to reality? 2014 ZAFEIRATOU E,SPATARU C
Physical energy storage employed worldwide 2014 SPATARU C,KOK YC,BARRETT M,BURCA G
Understanding, Prediction, Mitigation of Cascading Failures in Interdisciplinary Complex Systems 2013 Spataru C
Storage in energy systems 2013 Barrett M,Spataru C
PV system performance and the potential impact of the green deal policy on market growth in London, UK 2013 Sweetnam T,Spataru C,Barrett M,Cliffen B,Zikos S
The future whole energy system stability, reliability and security: WITH or WITHOUT fear of blackouts? 2013 Spataru C
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Research activities

Air PermeAbility | Cities Health Energy (APACHE)
Blackouts prevention and solutions through multi-disciplinary techniques (B-PAS)
CEH Project
City Energy Demand Simulation (CEDS)
Commercial and industrial electricity load profiles
Common Road to 2050: Energy Networks and Policy design (ENP2050)
FALCON Project
Micro Distributed Energy (ETI DE)
People, Energy and Buildings: Distribution, Diversity and Dynamics (PEB:D3)
UK-Ukraine Feasibility Study