Dr Majbaul Alam is a research fellow within the Sustainable Energy Research Group, Energy and Climate Change Division (ECCD) at the University of Southampton. Maj had his BSc and MSc degree in Marine Sciences, and started working in the field of Marine Sustainability in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Later moved on to Solar Home System (SHS) based rural electrification, and worked as external consultant for several organisations in Bangladesh supporting this technology dissemination along with mini-grid design and financial analysis. With the increasing interest in ‘off-grid energy technologies and the market at the bottom of the economic pyramid’ Maj perused his 2nd MSc in Marketing at the UEL, UK in 2010. During the course of several external consultancy work, Maj availed the prestigious PhD funding for 2013-2017 period through the OASYS South Asia project at the De Montfort University, UK. On completion of PhD in 2017, Maj joined the Sustainable Energy Research Group and has been working on several research projects.
Research areas and interests:
- Solar power and its decentralised applications
- Off-grid electrification
- Microgeneration for net zero
- Energy efficiency
- Hydrogen from renewables, and its application
- Sustainable energy infrastructure transformation in developing countries
Completed research projects:
Low cost, graduated PAYG solar home systems for Africa: This project investigated a new upgradeable SHS for rural electrification with the key objectives of designing and developing an affordable and modular pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar home system (SHS) product line for off-grid households in Africa. Also undertaken feasibility studies into the productive use of power encompassing, (i) analysis of potential businesses needs and ability to pay, (ii) optimised specification of the power systems and end-use equipment, and (iii) develop new business model to support productive uses of SHS.
Efficient VERsatile Energy Services Solution Through DC: This research project proposed a DC mini-grid (DCMG) platform to serve rural and remote areas beyond the utility grid in Sub-Saharan Africa. Key values of DCMG were identified through comparing it with equivalent AC mini-grids and diesel grids using, and following recommendations were made: (a) DC mini-grids for off-grid applications should be in small footprint, (b) Extra low voltage DC transmission (≤48V DC) should be considered, (c) DC mini-grids should be combined with uses of efficient DC appliances, (d) While serving an anchor load DC mini-grid can be used a community energy kiosk.
Ongoing research projects:
FORTIS UNUM: Innovation in Mini Grids and their Networks: The focus of this project is renewable energy driven mini-grid networks geared to promote the short and long-term sustainable growth in Sub Saharan Africa focusing on Kenya and Uganda. It builds on SERG’s extensive collaboration to create new and appropriate knowledgebase, and capacity building, focussing on sustainable and resilient local energy networks, including off-grid networks and their transition to the national grid. This research will address mini grid networks in various modes: (i) Isolated networks, (ii) Networks connected to the national grid, and (iii) Multiple networks connected together and working jointly.
Demand Side Renewables for Agricultural Base Load Energy (DeSiRABLE): Within this project SERG with its partners aims to develop renewable energy technology (mainly PV) platforms to support agricultural loads and provide additional energy services to enhance local enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further, a toolbox that will allow to quickly and accurately determine cost effective solutions including, system size and additional energy services for rural communities will be developed. Within the toolbox, these platforms will be integrated with a DC micro grid system that can support each of these opportunities, tailoring them to specific needs.