Alexander Dowling

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Thursday, March 31
10:00 - 10:30 AM (ET)

“The Design and Optimization of Integrated Energy Systems”


With increasing urgency to address climate change, integrated energy systems (IESs) are promising approaches to facilitate grid reliability with large-scale integration of non-dispatchable renewable energy. IESs offer important dynamic flexibility to the power grid by combining diverse energy sources (e.g., electricity, heat, steam, or chemicals) in hybrid configurations to facilitate new renewable integration, curtailment of emissions, and reduction in grid operating costs. A key advantage afforded by IES flexibility is the means to participate in electricity markets by offering energy and regulation services. Because an IES can dynamically apportion its energy output (e.g., using thermal and/or electrical storage), it can provide responsive generation to grid operators and help to improve grid reliability. To fully realize the benefits, new multiscale modeling frameworks are needed to co-optimize the design and operation of IES while explicitly considering interactions with wholesale electricity markets and other energy infrastructure.

In this talk, we share our efforts as part the Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems (IDAES) and the Design Integration and Synthesis Platform to Advance Tightly Coupled Hybrid Energy Systems (DISPATCHES) projects, funded by the U.S. DOE, to create open-source optimization environments for advanced energy systems. In particular, we highlight three new capabilities: (1) a multiscale simulation framework to elucidate complex IES and grid interactions, (2) surrogate modeling approaches to embed market interactions in IES co-optimization, and (3) efforts to rapidly evaluate technical and economic aspects of electricity and H2 co-generation concepts (e.g., solid oxide fuel cells, solid oxide electrolyzer cells) with CO2 capture using energy market data.


Alexander W. Dowling is an Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. His research combines chemical engineering, computational optimization, and uncertainty quantification to enable principled molecular-to-systems engineering of sustainable energy and environmental technologies. Applications areas include energy markets and infrastructure, carbon sequestration, shale gas utilization, water treatment, recovery of critical materials, and advanced separations (membranes, ionic liquids). In these areas, Prof. Dowling actively collaborates with seven U.S. national laboratories (NETL, SNL, LBL, INL, NREL, LANL, PNNL) and over ten research groups at Notre Dame. His group was honored with an NSF CAREER Award titled “Uncertainty Quantification and Optimization with Hybrid Models for Molecular-to-Systems Engineering” in 2019. He holds a B.S.E from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, all in chemical engineering.