Power to the people: Newton prize winners use maths for power systems

Power to the people: Newton prize winners use maths for power systems
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Newton Prize winners from the UK and Chile are working on a project to strengthen power systems to withstand extreme weather and natural disasters.

The Newton Prize scientists will use new mathematical models to improve the resilience of power systems in Chile and other countries vulnerable to natural disasters.

The importance of improving power systems

Latin America’s power systems lack the resilience to deal with frequent extreme weather events and natural disasters. Long electricity blackouts cause major economic and social instability.

The mathematical models will help energy providers to reduce or prevent electrical blackouts when power systems are exposed to natural disasters. The aim is to help achieve a low-carbon, resilient, and cost-effective transmission network for Chile.

Jane Nicholson, Associate Director at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said: “This project is a great example of how engineering and physical sciences can help address real challenges. It will use mathematics to plan and design electricity grids that are more resilient to extreme weather events and the harsh environment of Chile. This joint UK-Chile research will help reduce the disruption power cuts cause and the knowledge gained will benefit other countries in the region too. The Newton Fund is making connections that bring people closer together worldwide.

The Newton Prize

The Newton Prize is an annual £1 million fund for UK science and innovation partnerships who are helping to solve global development challenges.

Pierluigi Mancarella, UK Principle Investigator on the project, said: “The Newton Prize will enable further improvement of our advanced resilience assessment and planning tools and, importantly, facilitate their application to more developing countries which face varying threats related to extreme weather and natural hazards.”

Sam Gyimah, the minister of state for science, research and innovation, added: “The annual £1m Newton Prize builds upon, celebrates and further encourages research partnerships. It’s great to see this year’s applications representing the breadth of the Newton Fund’s work from public and private sector organisations based around the world.”

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