Walton Institute at South East Technological University is proud to announce the launch of COALESCE, a pioneering initiative that aims to improve the efficiency and sustainability of energy grids and data and telecommunication networks through a new multidisciplinary, international staff exchange programme.

While telecommunication and data networks rely on energy to function, energy grids require data for efficient operation. This interdependent relationship is central to the COALESCE project. Facilitated by a unique staff exchange program, COALESCE will promote the sharing of expertise and knowledge among professionals in the energy, data, and telecommunications sectors across academia and industry. This collaborative approach will enable the project to leverage insights from diverse perspectives to create a comprehensive and effective Artificial Intelligence (AI)-supported optimisation platform. This proposed platform has the potential to transform how these critical infrastructures interact by optimizing the interplay between energy grids and telecommunications/data networks, ensuring not only the efficient exchange of data, but also their joint sustainability. 

Reshaping the landscape of energy and communications networks

“COALESCE’s commitment to enhancing efficiency and sustainability is not merely technological innovation; it’s a strategic endeavour to reshape the landscape of energy and communication networks, ensuring a harmonious and resource-efficient coexistence,” explained Dr Indrakshi Dey, Head of Division, Programmable Autonomous Systems, Walton Institute. “At its core, COALESCE recognizes the symbiotic dance between energy and data, forging a mission to bridge the gap and cultivate a framework that not only optimizes their exchange but also champions joint sustainability.”

COALESCE will also be the first staff exchange programme to develop a twin green-digital transition in alignment with European Commission (EC) priorities and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, considering future communication and data networks and microgrid infrastructure supplied by renewables. The green and digital transitions are at the heart of EC science, research, and innovation. While both transitions reinforce each other in many ways, they are not automatically aligned, and sometimes even clash.  COALESCE will work on four out of the five most greenhouse intensive sectors including buildings; energy systems; energy-intensive Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry; and e-transportation.

New generation of joint energy-data networks

“At a time of unprecedented environmental crisis, wars and pandemics, COALESCE aims to design a new generation of joint energy-data networks that is optimal in terms of energy efficiency, that is flexible in meeting data and energy demands with supply, and that is sustainable by enabling the usage of clean energy resources. We advocate our approach will enable such principles to be at the core of the operation of present data and energy systems, and the design of future ones,” said Dr Nicola Marchetti, Trinity College Dublin, COALESCE Principal Investigator.

The 48-month project is funded with €1.7m by Marie-Skloodowska Curie Action (MSCA) and led by Walton Institute at South East Technological University in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology Finland, University of Cyprus, DHA SUffa University Pakistan, Millennium Institute of Technology & Entrepreneurship Pakistan, Cleanwatts Digital Portugal, Cyprus Research & Innovation Center, and Volue Oy Finland. The project will kick off in December 2023. 

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