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.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Hussein Rappel

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Remko Nijzink

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Maciej Piotr Chrzanowski

Maciej Piotr Chrzanowski never thought he would become a researcher, but a successful attempt at applying for a PhD changed all of that, and the Polish national found himself moving to Luxembourg. Now in the 3rd year of his AFR-PPP PhD, Maciej is embedded both at the University of Luxembourg and in R&D Application Department of steel manufacturing corporation ArcelorMittal, where he works on development of new solutions for structures.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Gilles Tossing

Gilles Tossing’s fascination for the human brain – and why it sometimes fails – led him to the path of research. Now in the second year of his AFR PhD at Université de Montréal in Canada, the Luxembourg national investigates neurodegenerative diseases, with the aim of improving treatments for those affected.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Nathasia Mudiwa Muwanigwa

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Alex Gansen

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: AI for ethical and legal debates

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Paul Johanns

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Jo Hoeser

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Christof Ferreira Torres

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Dimitra Anastasiou

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Anna Schleimer

In high school, Anna Schleimer thought everything there was to know in science was already known. When she discovered how many unanswered questions there still are, curiosity drove her to become a researcher. The Luxembourg national is now in the 1st year of her AFR PhD, in what is not your most common topic: As a marine biologist, Anna studies fin whales as part of her joint PhD at University of Groningen and University of St Andrews.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Antonio Ancora

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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Miguel Angel Olivares Mendez

Miguel Angel Olivares Mendez works on mobile robots – more specifically: he develops algorithms that enable drones to fly around and perform various tasks autonomously, such as inspecting big structures. The Spanish national came to Luxembourg in 2013 after he came across a Postdoc position that fit like a glove.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Silvia Girardi

Silvia Girardi is a sociologist with an interest in studying policies that aim to contrast poverty. As part of her joint PhD at Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) and KU Leuven, the Italian national looks at the social policies that support low-income households in Luxembourg, taking the perspectives of the citizens on the receiving end, and the social workers involved in implementation.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Steve Dias Da Cruz

While machine learning and deep learning have come a long way, they are not yet at a stage where autonomous vehicles can handle unexpected situations. As part of a public research-industry collaboration, early career researcher Steve Dias Da Cruz investigates possibilities to reduce the amount of data needed to train reliable deep learning models for safety critical applications in the automotive industry.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Glioblastoma and the challenge of getting cancer drugs to reach the brain

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain tumours in adults. The incidence is about 4 per 100.000 people and the average survival after diagnosis is about 14 months with current treatments. The tumour’s location represents a major challenge – few drugs make it past the blood brain barrier. Researchers are working on designing a novel kind of drug that could help do just that.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Anna Scaini

Anna Scaini’s appetite for becoming a researcher was stirred at University, stemming from a desire to ‘save’ the last natural river in Europe, which runs close to her home town and causes dangerous local flooding. The Italian national is taking the first step towards pursuing her goal as she prepares to complete her PhD thesis in Hydrology at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).

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: Charles de Bourcy

Charles de Bourcy decided to become a researcher on human health when he realised the human body is not invincible. After completing his undergraduate studies at University of Oxford, the Luxembourg national secured one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world and embarked on a PhD at Stanford University. Now in the final year of this PhD in Applied Physics, Charles is taking his first steps towards his goal of building technologies to help ease the burden of global disease.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Sebastian Scheer

Senior Postdoc Sebastian Scheer’s thirst for understanding how biological systems work led him to dive into the world of immunology research. After moving from Germany to Canada, the Luxembourg national got the chance to set up his group leader’s new lab in Australia, where his research revolves around the T cell, a key player in the shaping of immune responses.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Turning up the heat on solar absorbers

Using solar absorbers for collection and storage of heat from the sun is an environmentally friendly way to generate heat, yet only 16% of heating is generated from renewable energy. Material scientists are looking for ways to boost this number by making the solar absorber coatings more efficient.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Thomas Schaubroeck

Thomas Schaubroeck specialises in sustainability assessment of products. We speak to the Belgian national about the research he is undertaking in the framework of an Industrial Fellowship between the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and company Tarkett; how working with industry differs from academia; and how he hopes his research can help industry steer toward a more sustainable future.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Ramona Pelich

Ramona Pelich uses data from satellites in space to improve maritime surveillance and flood hazard monitoring. Splitting her time between the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the company LuxSpace as part of her AFR-PPP Postdoc, the Romanian national’s work has already found direct application when flood maps she co-developed were used in the aftermath of destructive 2017 hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Spotlight on Young Researchers: Ramping up carbohydrates production

Carbs are all around us: a major constituent in food, they also play a role in many biological processes such as intercellular communication; they are in demand in the pharmaceutical industry, where they are currently used as anticoagulants and in skincare. With the goal of no longer having to rely solely on nature’s production of carbs, scientists have been working on ways to ramp up production. A case for chemistry!

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