Spotlight on Young Researchers: Gil Georges

 

Gil Georges is driven by the quest for knowledge and strives to have a real impact, beyond publications. The Luxembourg national has just made the jump from early-career researcher to lecturer and group leader at the IET-LAV at ETH Zürich in Switzerland, where the data analyst and modeller gets to use one of Europe’s most powerful super computers when it is time for some serious number crunching.

“The exciting part is that my work is highly interdisciplinary,” says Gil Georges, whose research is part of Switzerland’s action plan for coordinated energy research. He explains that he on the modeller side of his work gets to work on anything from mobility demand to vehicle technology and energy provision, which brings with it extremely large datasets – hence Gil gets to use the famous super computer when real datasets of vast proportions have be to analysed.

“On the other hand”, Gil adds “we participate in – and most of the time lead – many collaborative research projects. Therefore, I get to interact with many people, from researchers in other disciplines, over administrations to get data to decision makers in industry and administration to identify interesting research questions.”

Taking into account what effect charging one electric car has on energy demand

So what exactly does Gil and his group work on? Gil explains:

“I work on how alternative propulsion technology creates an additional energy demand from mobility, how this changes when and where we consume energy, and how to cover this with increasing shares of fluctuating renewable production.”

The primary focus of the work is Switzerland – Gil’s work is funded entirely by the Swiss Government’s Competence Center for Energy Research in Mobility. Gil explains that the country’s large hydro and nuclear capacities give it one of the least CO2-intense production mixes of Europe but that it is yet an open system electrically due to its grid connectivity to its neighbouring countries.

“If we add one charging electric vehicle on top of the already existing demand from buildings, industry, etc.,” Gil says, adding “then this electricity is not necessarily generated in Switzerland; it can come from anywhere on the European continent — worst case from a coal or oil powerplant.”

“It thus matters when a vehicle charges, and how the Swiss energy system evolves as a whole. Now there is a whole bunch of options to address this situation, ranging from influencing the demand for mobility, over ‘smart charging’, to complex storage systems like ‘power to gas’. We develop tools and use them to explore the feasibility and ramifications of the different options under different scenarios.”

Hoping for a fact-based emissions debate

Gil points out that if Luxembourg does go ahead with pushing for electric mobility, his research would also become highly relevant to the Grand Duchy “in particular because Luxembourg currently only produces about 1-2 TWh of its roughly 8 TWh electricity consumption; that means that the added electricity demand from mobility is likely to be imported.”

In terms of what he hopes to achieve with his work as a researcher, Gil explains that he hopes his work will have a real-life impact, for example on emissions:

I do not mean publications — although I would not mind them either. I mean the public discourse. If I can contribute to the debate becoming just a little more fact-based, perhaps change a few minds or even bring about some minimal course correction that actually reduces CO2 emissions, then I guess it will have been worth it.”

Gil Georges

About Spotlight on Young Researchers

Spotlight on Young Researchers is an FNR initiative to highlight early career researchers across the world who have a connection to Luxembourg. This article is the 19th in a series of around 25 articles, which will be published on a weekly basis. You can see more articles below as and when they are published.

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Hussein Rappel

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Nina Hentzen

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Dominique Santana

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Spotlight On Young Researchers: Henderika de Vries

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Thomas Schaubroeck

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Bella Tsachidou

Excessive use of fertilisers in agriculture has led to nitrogen pollution, and calls for bio substitutes are getting louder. PhD candidate Bella Tsachidou from Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) gathers scientific evidence on the benefits of biogas residues and their suitability as biofertilisers, while providing support for the modification of nitrogen-policies on European and global level.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: An algorithm to allocate satellite resources

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: The hidden half of plants

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Guillaume Nataf

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Adham Ayman Al-Sayyad

Adham Ayman Al-Sayyad is a PhD researcher working on multidisciplinary cross-border project. In our article, we explore the Egyptian national’s research around the topic of laser beam joining; why his next step post-PhD would be to spend some time working in industry to understand his research topic from new angles; and his passion for bridging cultures to bring people together.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Alex Gansen

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Thomas Elliot

When Thomas Elliot (Tom) cycled from Indonesia to London, he witnessed many people living in hardship. Motivated to research how consumption affects social and environmental justice in a bid to help reduce the hardship witnessed, the New Zealand national applied for an open PhD position at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), where he now works on a project that fuses urban metabolism and ecosystem services.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Svenja Bourone

Svenja Bourone is a chemist who has always had a fascination for natural sciences. During her master studies at RWTH Aachen, she became captivated by functional nanomaterials and as chance would have it, a doctoral position opened up in just that field. During her AFR PhD, Svenja developed a new protocol to help with the synthesisation of gold nanoparticles, which she is now putting to use in her work as a Postdoc. The Luxembourg national has a strong desire to return home to the Grand Duchy to continue her work on nanomaterials.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Anna Monzel

Anna Monzel cites her thirst for new knowledge and discoveries as a key contributor in her choosing to follow the path of science. Drawn to Luxembourg because of its interdisciplinary approach, the German national developed a 3D model of the human midbrain for her PhD at the LCSB at the University of Luxembourg – which earned her a Lush Young Researcher Prize.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Nathasia Mudiwa Muwanigwa

Growing up in Botswana and Zimbabwe, Nathasia Mudiwa Muwanigwa did not see science as a career option. Fast forward a few years: Nathasia is studying Parkinson’s disease as part of her PhD at the LCSB at the University of Luxembourg, and has co-founded a STEM initiative that was featured in Forbes.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Understanding our immune system

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Isabel Z. Martínez

Isabel Z. Martínez has been interested in how policies are put in place and how they affect people’s lives for as long as she can remember. After completing her Masters in Economics, she realised that academia was the ideal way to quench her thirst for analysing large data sets and finding answers to questions addressing people’s well-being and policy decisions. The Swiss-Spanish national has been studying income and wealth inequality in Switzerland for years and has now come to Luxembourg as a Postdoc at LISER to expand her research to the Grand Duchy. We spoke to Isabel about life as a research economist, and how it has already enabled her to travel across the globe, as well as work with some of the foremost researchers in her field.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Collecting individual and personal stories of the war generation in Luxembourg

Over 10,000 Luxembourgish women and men wore German uniforms during WWII in armed forces and civil organisations – many were drafted by the Nazi German authorities – and behind each name is a story waiting to be told. A team of researchers has been working with families in Luxembourg to piece together the personal stories of the war generation in Luxembourg.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Paul Johanns

Paul Johanns works in a research field one does not read about every day: knots. As part of his AFR PhD at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the Luxembourg national combines high-precision model experiments, computation and theory to untangle the influence of topology on the mechanics of complex knots, particularly those used in surgical procedures.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Laurie Maldonado

Laurie Maldonado’s research focuses on single-parent families. After suddenly becoming a single parent herself, she experienced first-hand how quickly single-parent families can fall into poverty in the United States, not knowing if she could continue her research. Then Laurie secured an AFR PhD grant, conducting her research at the LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg and at UCLA. A few years and a successful PhD defence later, we talked with Laurie about her journey and her close-to-home research.

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