How can renewable energy satisfy the demand for electricity as far as possible?

Wind, sun and water do not produce constant amounts of energy. What’s more, renewable energy is difficult to store. Michaela Szölgyenyi is working on mathematical methods that can be used, for example, to better predict how much electricity a solar power plant will most likely produce at any given time.

“Whether the wind blows or the sun shines depends on the prevailing weather conditions. These uncertainties can be modelled mathematically, as can the consumption patterns of energy customers,” explains Michaela Szölgyenyi, who heads the Department of Statistics at the University of Klagenfurt. In order to make renewable energy economically viable and thus increase its public acceptance, we must also take into account the operational costs of the power plants.

These parameters flow into models that consist of so-called stochastic differential equations. Szölgyenyi seeks to solve these equations by applying new methods. ” This is especially challenging when irregular coefficients occur, which means that the equations in the model do not behave as expected. Translated to the example of wind power, this might mean that the wind suddenly changes,” Szölgyenyi elaborates.

Optimisation problems such as the efficient use of renewable energies surround us constantly in our daily lives. For example, supermarkets ensure supplies by optimising the transport routes of goods, and motorways are built so that the cars driving along them cause as little noise as possible. The doc.funds doctoral school Modeling–Analysis–Optimization of discrete, continuous, and stochastic systems” was established at the University of Klagenfurt to address questions like these that transcend the boundaries of individual mathematical subfields. The FWF-funded doctoral school is directed by Michaela Szölgyenyi. In total, 14 doctoral students, including 11 women, are currently working on these types of optimisation problems in the doc.funds doctoral school. At the University of Klagenfurt, the diverse research activities within this field are grouped together in the area of research strength called “Multiple Perspectives in Optimization” .