Strategic Research Themes

Our research is focused on demand side energy efficiency and embedded energy generation. The IERC is a key element of the Governments Energy Research Strategy, which claims to develop world class and world scale energy research capability. The IERC comprises a core multi-disciplinary team of engineers and scientists with specialist expertise in areas including; energy systems, building energy management, technoeconomic modelling and electrical systems engineering.   The IERC can also fund relevant research expertise from elsewhere within the Irish ecosystem to deliver on collaborative research projects as required. This allows significant flexibility in responding to industry research needs.

The IERC performs due diligence during project definition stage to ensure that the research will advance and challenge the current state of the art and provide a return on investment to all partners. All collaborative proposals are subjected to confidential external peer technical and commercial review. The IERC External Advisory Group consists of world leading experts from across the global Energy Sector who provides strategic oversight on our research themes and support on international benchmarking of research activities.

We are developing our portfolio of research projects in the following priority areas:

The knowledge gaps are examined through five different research lenses:

  • Technology
  • Data Analytics
  • Behaviour
  • Business Models
  • Policy & Regulation

This provides translations between industry need and academic researcher capability, as well as providing continual testing of research assumptions and relevance of the expected outcomes.

Smart Cities and Sustainable Communities

There is an ever greater need to provide integrated thinking to complex systems. Buildings, neighbourhoods and cities are complex interconnected entities, all of which require energy ubiquitously. Research topics under this theme include:

  • Integrated building systems and control
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Building energy retrofit
  • Smart community networks
  • City level policy development
  • Resident and community engagement
  • Electric vehicles

Low Carbon Heating and Cooling

Heating can account for more than 30% of national energy use in northern climes, while cooling is one of the fastest growing energy demands in buildings globally. Low carbon heat will be essential if global carbon targets are to be met. There are significant challenges around availability of alternative fuel and energy sources, the costs of new technologies and the control of systems to meet needs efficiently. Topics in this theme include:

  • Thermal energy storage systems
  • District heating and cooling distribution and control
  • Combined heat and power and tri-generation
  • Biomass boilers
  • Heat pumps
  • Low carbon cooling systems

Monitoring, Measurement and Analysis of Energy

Energy management is dominated by the need for high quality, cost effective energy use information. Failures in the supply chain of energy data are greatly underestimated, and may be the single most important barrier to effective energy reduction. In addition the cost of energy related equipment can be expensive, and effective management of these assets is essential to protect the investment. Energy data is high in volume and comes from a variety of sources and means of measurement. Turning data into knowledge and in turn real value is a key area of opportunity. Topics in this theme include:

  • Measurement and verification for energy performance contracting
  • Secure and reliable energy data supply chains
  • Energy management decision support tools
  • Heat metering
  • Smart metering for better billing
  • Stakeholder engagement

Embedded and Distributed Generation systems (EDGE)

Low and zero carbon distributed generation technologies can often be deployed at the community or building level, local to the point of use. These can be isolated or often be connected to the low/medium voltage electrical distribution network via power electronics converters. Based on the capacity and integration techniques they can be proposed in many forms such as microgeneration (µGen), grid connected AC/DC microgrids (µGrids), community grid/µGrid (C-Grid/µGird) and virtual power plant (VPP). However, due to the uncontrollable nature of variable renewables and the bi-directional power flow in the distribution network, high penetration of clean energy depends on the intelligent and efficient energy management and control at every level starting from the end user up to the distribution network operator. These are then introduce significant challenges for national electricity supply systems, while bringing significant opportunities to the end users. Introducing energy storage systems, intelligent energy systems integration and demand side management techniques are also playing important role on the overall network stability and power quality improvement. The overall goal of the research team is to optimise the integration of renewables in an existing distribution grid and manage clean energy to achieve decarbonized (renewable energy) RE-distribution network with operational flexibility. Topics in this theme include:

  • Micro-generation/Micro-CHP/Micro-grid/VPP systems
  • Distributed Energy Storage
  • Intelligent Energy Systems and Integration
  • Power Electronics Converter, Filter and Stabiliser
  • Demand Side Management
  • Grid Stability and Power Quality

For more info, please contact the research team:

  • Shafi Khadem (
  • Sebastian Rosado (

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