Dr Catalina Spataru

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Dr. Catalina Spataru joined UCL Energy Institute in 2010 as a Senior Researcher and currently is a Lecturer in Energy Systems and Networks. Previously she worked as a Research Fellow, Lead consultant and Journalist. She has 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.  During her studies she spent a semester in Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain with Socrates-Erasmus Programme. She has been studying or visiting various universities Al. I. Cuza University (Romania), Complutense de Madrid (Spain), Carnegie Mellon (USA), University of Perugia (Italy). Recently (May 2014) she delivered presentations at Princeton University (USA) and MIT (USA) (as visitor researcher - May 2014). She  is regularly invited as a speaker both in academic and professional circles, public engagement events and media. In 2014 was invited to speak at Cheltenham Science Festival and interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph. 

She received the Award Trevithick Fund in 2011 from Institution of Civil Engineers for the paper Low Carbon Housing Design Informed by Research, published in the Proceeding of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Engineering Sustainability. 

She is the regional representative of the IEEE Women in Power (Region 8- Europe). She was the scientific chair for BSO’14 and  SEB’14 conferences. 

Research Summary

Dr. Catalina Spataru specialises in whole energy systems modelling and reliability of coupling energy networks, with particular interest in the applications of dynamic models to energy resource nexus. 

As a Senior Researcher in Smart Grids and Energy Networks (2010-2014) at UCL Energy Institute, she has made several contributions to the understanding of whole energy system; working towards the development of a in-house dynamic whole energy system (DynEMo) which has been applied to UK and France, and a scalable dynamic energy model (DEAM) to simulate half hourly energy flows for consumers connected to substations to determine possible future loads imposed to plan capacity and plant upgrades. 

Since joining UCL she has initiated the development of new research areas for her department: power blackouts prevention and reliability of  coupling energy networks, developing a modelling framework to assess the impact of intermittent renewable energy resources, trade and energy security risk for European countries, with a primary focus on Ukraine-Russia-EU route. 

Her past research includes research on resilience of gas network, assessing the maximum percentage of Hydrogen which can be added in the existing gas network and the risk assessment following a NG/H2 release leakage and explosion. The model has been used to define a Decision Support Tool for European countries which can assess the socio-economic aspects of hydrogen addition to natural gas system. She has also developed models for individual renewable micro distributed technologies and developed a Smart Home software tool with a friendly user interface to determine potential savings due to behaviour change and technologies upgrade in buildings. She used different indoor localization systems for people tracking and activity recognition including wireless networks, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and cameras.  

She has made several contributions to international reports, the recent ones are: World Energy Scenarios Composing energy futures to 2050 (World Energy Council http://www.worldenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/World-Energy-Scenarios_Composing-energy-futures-to-2050_Full-report.pdf)  and Global Systems Science Orientation Paper part of EU- FET consultation process (http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/records/fulltext/190487/local_190487.pdf)

She organised workshops that brought together government, industry and researchers to identify issues and opportunities, as follow: 

Russia-Ukraine-EU energy partnership towards energy security (September 2014); 

Blackouts and Cascading Failures workshop (B-PAS) (May 2013); 

Common Road to 2050: Energy networks and policy design (ENP2050) (July 2013).

Research outputs

Techno-economic assessment for optimal energy storage mix 2016 Spataru C,Kok YC,Barrett M,Sweetnam T
Geographical information system as support tool for sustainable Energy Action Plan 2015 Gagliano A,Nocera F,D'Amico A,Spataru C
The global resource nexus - a new approach to advance understanding of sustainability transitions 2015 Hoff H,Bleischwitz R,Spataru C
What are the future strategies and tools for resource nexus? What are priorities and what next steps can be taken? 2015 Spataru C
Assessing demand response with heat pumps for efficient grid operation in smart grids 2015 Kreuder L,Spataru C
Investigation of high renewable energy penetration in the island of Syros following the interconnection with the national grid system 2015 Zafeiratou E,Spataru C
The use of natural gas pipeline network with different energy carriers 2015 Ma L,Spataru C
Water-Energy-Land Nexus - Modelling long-term scenarios for Brazil 2015 Senger M,Spataru C
Evaluating the accuracy of CFSR reanalysis hourly wind speed forecasts for the UK, using in situ measurements and geographical information 2015 Sharp E,Dodds P,Barrett M,Spataru C
Long-term scenarios for reaching climate targets and energy security in UK 2015 Spataru C,Drummond P,Zafeiratou E,Barrett M
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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)
Energy storage and Demand Side Response
FALCON Project
Micro Distributed Energy (ETI DE)
People, Energy and Buildings: Distribution, Diversity and Dynamics (PEB:D3)
SiCEDS (Create a Stakeholder Interactive City Energy Demand Simulator)
The vulnerability of refrigerated food to unstable power supplies
UK-Ukraine Feasibility Study