Iven Mareels

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Professor Iven Mareels obtained the (ir) Masters of Electromechanical Engineering from Gent University Belgium in 1982 and the PhD in Systems Engineering from the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia in 1987. Since 1996, he is a Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the University of Melbourne. In June 2007, he became Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering. 

Previously he was a Reader at the Australian National University (1990-1996), a lecturer at the University of Newcastle (1988-1990) and the University of Gent (1986-1988).

Prof Mareels received the W.H. Kwon Award for Engineering Education (2013); the inaugural Grand Challenges Award from Taylor's University, Malaysia (2013); a Clunies Ross Medal, Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2008) for his work on Smart Irrigation Systems; the inaugural Vice-Chancellors Knowledge Transfer Excellence award from the University of Melbourne (2007), for his work in large scale irrigation systems with Rubicon Systems Australia. In 2005, he was named IEEE CSS Distinguished Lecturer, and in 1994 he received the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Australian National University. 

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Australia, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (USA), a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia, and a Foreign Fellow of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. 

In 2013 Professor Mareels, was named a Commander in the Order of the Crown of Belgium for meritorious services in engineering and science. In 2003 he received the Centenary Medal, for services to engineering education.

Until June 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Asian Control Association, and a member of the organising committee for the Asian Control Conference. He is on the

steering committee for the Mathematical Theory in Networks and Systems conference. Over the period Jan 2003-Dec 2005 he was a member of the Board of Governors of the Control Systems Society IEEE. He is registered with the Institute of Engineers Australia as a professional engineer. He is a member of the National Committee for Automation, Control and Instrumentation (Australia). From June 2008 till Sep 2014 he is Chair of the Technical Board of the International Federation of Automatic Control and ex-officio Vice-President. He was co-editor in chief for Systems & Control Letters from 1997 to 2007.

He has extensive experience in consulting for both industry and government. He has strong interests in education. He has taught a broad range of subjects in both mechanical and electrical engineering curricula. He was one of the developers of the Bachelor of Engineering at the Australian National University and one of the architects of the new 3+2 Master of Engineering education at Melbourne. His research interests are in large scale systems, which he studies using techniques from nonlinear control theory and dynamical systems theory, as well as adaptive and learning control methods. At present his research is focused the modelling and control of water distribution systems, the electrical grid and the brain (in particular the epileptic brain). 

Iven Mareels has published widely, one general book about systems engineering, four research monographs, in excess of 130 journal publications and 250 conference publications. He has supervised to completion 35 PhD students and is currently supervising 5 PhD students and 1 MPhil student. He is also co-inventor of a family of 23 international patents related to autonomous water distribution systems

Distinguished Lecturer

Distinguished Lecture Program

Talk Title: Renewable Energy Based Grid Futures - A View from the Last Mile

Population growth, urbanisation and climate change necessitate a paradigm shift in the design and operations of the classical electrical power grid. The original ideas underpinning the first AC grids of the late 19th century still define the present grid, which consists of large power sources at a few distinct locations supplying through the high voltage transmission grid a large, geographically distributed low voltage consumer base.  Much of this paradigm is being questioned at present because
a)      Renewable power sources come with a far lower power intensity per square meter of installation;
b)      Renewable power sources suffer from uncontrollable temporal variations unknown in classical power generation;
c)      In well-established grids, peak-to-base power consumption is increasing, making the transmission grid which caters by necessity for peak demand an economically very unattractive proposition.

At the same time, new technologies provide opportunities
a)      smart metering, but more generally intelligent, interconnected, infrastructure or an internet-of-things for the grid, is totally feasible;
b)      transport is becoming more electrified, with electric vehicles entering the light vehicle market;
c)      electrical energy storage, or non-fossil fuel energy storage at scale is becoming an economically realistic proposition.

In particular these new technologies allow us to reconsider what the last mile in the grid may look like when demand and supply are coordinated through a power matching strategy that respects the physical infrastructure's operational limits. We argue the economic need to consider such approaches in the distribution grid, based on grid usage considerations. Distributed, receding horizon optimized distribution of power to satisfy consumers' energy needs, minimize their energy bills, whilst maximising the utility of renewables, and the grid itself is a realistic option that may change the way we use electrical power and build and exploit distribution networks.

Much of our experience, and the data used in the presentation, are Australia specific. Nevertheless, we will consider scenarios applicable to both high population density urban living as well as semi-rural, and rural circumstances, inclusive of some remarks around the management of micro-grids that may evolve as demand requires.  

The talk will conclude with some observations about the socio-economic and political dimensions of a grid infrastructure supplied by renewable power sources. Non-trivial national regulatory reform is required in Australia, but such reform is insignificant when compared with the trans-national and trans-regional cooperation that is essential to achieve equitable world-wide access to renewable power.


Award Recipient