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Dr Catalina Spataru
Research Room 1.06
Central House
14 Upper Woburn Place
Tel: 020 3108 5902
  • Lecturer
  • Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

Dr. Catalina Spataru joined UCL Energy Institute in 2010 as a Senior Researcher and currently is a Lecturer in Energy Systems and Networks. Previously she worked as a Research Fellow, Lead consultant and Journalist. She has a PhD in Gas Build-up and the frequency of explosions following releases of Natural Gas/Hydrogen mixtures in buildings, obtained from Loughborough University, UK.  During her studies she spent a semester in Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain with Socrates-Erasmus Programme. She has been studying or visiting various universities Al. I. Cuza University (Romania), Complutense de Madrid (Spain), Carnegie Mellon (USA), University of Perugia (Italy). Recently (May 2014) she delivered presentations at Princeton University (USA) and MIT (USA) (as visitor researcher - May 2014). She  is regularly invited as a speaker both in academic and professional circles, public engagement events and media. In 2014 was invited to speak at Cheltenham Science Festival and interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph. 

She received the Award Trevithick Fund in 2011 from Institution of Civil Engineers for the paper Low Carbon Housing Design Informed by Research, published in the Proceeding of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Engineering Sustainability. 

She is the regional representative of the IEEE Women in Power (Region 8- Europe). She was the scientific chair for BSO’14 and  SEB’14 conferences. 

Research Summary

Dr. Catalina Spataru specialises in whole energy systems modelling and reliability of coupling energy networks, with particular interest in the applications of dynamic models to energy resource nexus. 

As a Senior Researcher in Smart Grids and Energy Networks (2010-2014) at UCL Energy Institute, she has made several contributions to the understanding of whole energy system; working towards the development of a in-house dynamic whole energy system (DynEMo) which has been applied to UK and France, and a scalable dynamic energy model (DEAM) to simulate half hourly energy flows for consumers connected to substations to determine possible future loads imposed to plan capacity and plant upgrades. 

Since joining UCL she has initiated the development of new research areas for her department: power blackouts prevention and reliability of  coupling energy networks, developing a modelling framework to assess the impact of intermittent renewable energy resources, trade and energy security risk for European countries, with a primary focus on Ukraine-Russia-EU route. 

Her past research includes research on resilience of gas network, assessing the maximum percentage of Hydrogen which can be added in the existing gas network and the risk assessment following a NG/H2 release leakage and explosion. The model has been used to define a Decision Support Tool for European countries which can assess the socio-economic aspects of hydrogen addition to natural gas system. She has also developed models for individual renewable micro distributed technologies and developed a Smart Home software tool with a friendly user interface to determine potential savings due to behaviour change and technologies upgrade in buildings. She used different indoor localization systems for people tracking and activity recognition including wireless networks, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and cameras.  

She has made several contributions to international reports, the recent ones are: World Energy Scenarios Composing energy futures to 2050 (World Energy Council http://www.worldenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/World-Energy-Scenarios_Composing-energy-futures-to-2050_Full-report.pdf)  and Global Systems Science Orientation Paper part of EU- FET consultation process (http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/records/fulltext/190487/local_190487.pdf)

She organised workshops that brought together government, industry and researchers to identify issues and opportunities, as follow: 

Russia-Ukraine-EU energy partnership towards energy security (September 2014); 

Blackouts and Cascading Failures workshop (B-PAS) (May 2013); 

Common Road to 2050: Energy networks and policy design (ENP2050) (July 2013).

Teaching Summary

In the past, she taught lectures on fluid mechanics, mathematics, renewable energy technologies, energy systems modelling, lab demonstrations (PV and Wind turbines) for undergraduate, MSc and Mres students. She has been invited as guest lecturer (Renewable Energy Technologies) at Nottingham University in 2011. 

Since 2012 she helped Prof. Bob Lowe with the MRes module Theory, Measurement and Interpretation and since 2011 she was running together with Dr Mark Barrett the Energy Systems modelling module for the MSc in Environmental Design and Engineering (EDE). 

In 2014 she delivered lectures part of the UCL Engineering IEP yr.1 Sustainable Energy Challenge on Smart Grids and Energy storage. 

Currently, she teaches  and leading the Smart Energy Systems for the MSc EDE, a multidisciplinary module which she proposed and developed since 2013. This multidisciplinary module provides students with an understanding of methods, concepts and practice of whole  current and future energy system, offering a combination of theory, innovative practical case studies, with interactive exercises, use of  data and models to assess current and future whole energy system. The coursework involves writing a report on the future energy system in an island as a case study. 

Catalina supervises currently seven PhD students (5 as primary supervisor). She also supervised several MSc/MRes students, most of them took over the models she developed and extend /use them in their dissertations under her supervision. For example, DEAM algorithms are included in the PhD model SpDEAM of Ed Sharp which calculates hourly loads at a spatial resolution of 0.5 degrees Latitude/Longitude.

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