Intelligent Clean Energy Systems

The Intelligent Clean Energy Systems (ICES) unit aims to develop ground-breaking market-oriented solutions and services for clean energy systems, in which distributed and flexible markets and networks, based on clean and efficient assets, use digital technologies to integrate all the system players in an optimal, transparent and democratic manner.

Central to the ICES unit is the smart grid vision, namely, an electricity network in which information flows freely between consumers and suppliers, and operating conditions are adapted in real-time to guarantee the adequate security, reliability and resiliency levels. The research team extends this vision towards a wider energy portfolio, integrating other energy infrastructures and providing further abstraction and intelligence levels when designing, planning and operating solutions for the energy systems of the future.

The ICES unit will address integrated multi-carrier systems, virtual power plants, energy communities, smart grids, multi-terminal DC and hybrid AC/DC networks, resilient grids, electrical transportation, and zero energy buildings, including market applications and regulations for the green economy. It will also take into account the psychology and ethics of new energy systems.


Energy systems must transition from a carbon-based centralised unidirectional model to a renewable-based distributed multi-directional model.

Some of the main research challenges affecting this transition are:

  • Shifting energy generation to renewable and low-carbon sources, and shifting energy consumption from fossil fuels to decarbonised electricity, hydrogen or heat;
  • Optimally integrating multiple energy vectors (electricity, heat, transport, waste, water…);
  • Deploying large-scale digitalisation to spread intelligence at all system levels, from the edge to the cloud;
  • Improving grid automation, including both intelligent observability and controllability, to ensure stable, reliable and resilient energy systems;
  • Using Artificial Intelligence and big-data techniques at all system levels to increase system flexibility to match supply and demand dynamics more locally and over multiple time frames (e.g. improving forecasting, shortening decision-making processes, extending automation, increasing coordination, etc.);
  • Improving the power processing capacities of power systems, moving from electromechanical generation and passive demand to active power converter-dominated power systems on both the generation and demand sides;
  • Developing new user-centric local markets based on new players such as energy communities and aggregators.


  • Energy systems
  • Renewable energy generation systems
  • Electrical grids and infrastructures
  • Distributed control systems
  • Power conversion systems
  • Energy communities
  • Energy storage systems
  • Electrical vehicle charging
  • Energy internet and digital platforms
  • Energy markets
  • Computational energy intelligence
  • Dynamic optimisation and planning


The ICES research unit is organised around three main pillars, i.e., two research groups and a set of transversal resources.

The Sustainable Energy Systems research group seeks ways of increasing the flexibility, efficiency, sustainability, reliability and social acceptance of increasingly complex and dynamic energy systems, which will mainly be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind power or bioenergy.

The Active Power Grid research group relies on an evolutionary conception of power infrastructures to enable an efficient and reliable realisation of automatised energy systems.

The transversal resources consist of research scientists and engineers working on the following elements:

  • Energy software applications;
  • Energy intelligence;
  • A hardware-in-the-loop lab;
  • A living lab.



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