Dr Philipp Grünewald


Research Groups


Dr Philipp Grünewald

EPSRC Fellow
Flexibility Theme Leader, Lower Carbon Futures
Frank Jackson JRF, Oriel College
Deputy Director of Energy Research

Academic Profile

I want to know what you did on 7 December at 5:30pm. Were you at home? Perhaps having a piece of toast and a cup of tea? Or were you doing housework, vacuum cleaning, putting on a wash? Whatever you were doing, you would have used some of the most inefficient, polluting and (if that is more your area of interest) the most expensive electricity of the year.

Winter evenings are typically the time of peak electricity consumption in the UK. And to ensure that the 'lights stay on', we need to have the generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure sized to cope with this critical moment. As we introduce cleaner sources of generation, conventional plants generate less and less electricity. Still, you can't retire all of them: if on 7 December the wind doesn't blow everywhere, these plants may produce that electricity you want - at a hefty high premium, because they only get to sell their electricity infrequently and still need to cover their costs.

And this is why I want to know what you were doing on that day, and - more importantly - if any of the associated electricity consumption could be avoided or moved to a different time of day. Would you delay the housework? Maybe. How about that cup of tea? Maybe not. Would you do it for money or mankind? How about if 'smart technology' did it for you and just delayed the wash for a few hours?

These may seem like trivial and small changes, but they could avoid generation and network infrastructure costs in the billions of pounds and help us use our natural energy resources more effectively. We already know from several trials that there is some potential to reduce peak loads. My interest is in understanding the origin of the flexibility, such that we can make the most of it.

To find out more, visit my project website, METER.

Recent Work

University of Oxford, ECI
Measuring and Evaluating Time-use and Electricity-use Relationships (METER) EPSRC Early Career Fellowship (2015-2020)

Oxford Martin Programme for Integrating Renewable Energy (2015-2019)

Collecting New Time Use Resources (CNTUR Energy-24) (2014-2017)

Realising Value from Electricity Markets with Local Smart Electric Thermal Storage Technology (RealValue) (2015-2018)

Community Energy Generation, Aggregation and Demand Shaping (CEGADS) (2015-2017)

Oxford Energy Network Deputy Director (since 2015) and Coordinator (2013-2015)

Supergen HiDEF project (2013)
Residential demand profiles - Appliance level analysis of the potential for demand side flexibility
Community energy initiatives - Understanding business models and their value creation

University of Reading, SCME
Assessing the Benefits of Demand Side Response Participation in a Capacity Market, in collaboration with Kiwi Power, funded by Technology Strategy Board (2012-2013)

Imperial College London, ICEPT 
The role of electricity storage in low carbon energy systems - interdisciplinary PhD thesis funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (2009-2012)

Strategic Assessment of the Role and Value of Energy Storage Systems in the UK Low Carbon Energy Future - Project Advisory board for the Carbon Trust (2011-2012)

Techno-Economics of Distributed Solar Hydrogen - Sustainable Energy Futures MSc thesis (2008-2009)


Phil used to be a 'proper engineer' developing laser processing tools for the manufacture of thin film photovoltaic panels. Prior to this he was part of a small team developing the world's first commercial Extreme UltraViolet (EUV) micro stepper for Intel (these tools are early prototypes for future production tools as required to meet the ambitious roadmaps in the semiconductor industry).

However, since becoming involved with energy research, Phil had to realise that technical innovation is only a small part of the picture. During his MSc at Imperial College he adopted techno-economic modelling to explore future commercial drivers for disruptive new technologies, such as solar hydrogen. In his PhD he broadened this approach further, to include stakeholder perceptions and transition theory. This helped to expose some of the challenges we face in introducing new concepts to markets and institutions which have evolved over many decades around established technologies of electricity generation and delivery. The example in his thesis was electricity storage. Very similar issues arise for demand response, which he is exploring now.

Phil's complete lack of disciplinarity is supported by his degree in Business-Engineering from Wedel (Germany), an MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures from Imperial College and an interdisciplinary scholarship for his PhD from the UK Energy Research Centre.

Awards and Fellowships

2000-2003 Marie Curie Fellow, Exitech, Oxford
2009-2013 UK Energy Research Centre interdisciplinary PhD scholarship, Imperial College London
2009 Winner of the nPower Energy Challenge
2010 Runner up in U.S. DOE Hydrogen Challenge, Washington
2015 EPSRC Early career fellowship EP/M024652/1
2016 Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (FICE)
2017 Frank Jackson JRF Oriel College


  • Grunewald, P. (2016) Flexibility in supply and demand. DEMAND Centre Conference, Lancaster, 13-15 April 2016.
  • Grünewald, P., Ramirez-Mendiola, J.L. and Lane, K. (2016) Residential Demand Modelling – Time for Flexibility. BEHAVE, 4th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency, Coimbra.
  • Topouzi, M., Grunewald, P., Gershuny, J. and Harms, T. (2016) Everyday household practices and electricity use: Early findings from a mixed-method approach to assign demand flexibility. BEHAVE, 4thEuropean Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency, Coimbra, 8-9 September 2016.
  • Grünewald, P. (2010) Generation and Storage of Hydrogen from Renewables. Supergen HDel meeting, 25–26 May. Cardiff.
  • Grünewald, P. (2010) Techno-Economics of Distributed Generation and Storage of Solar Hydrogen. 18th World Hydrogen Energy Conference. 16–21 May 2010. Essen, Germany.
  • Grünewald, P. (2010) Techno-Economics of Distributed Generation and Storage of Solar Hydrogen. 8th YEEES seminar, 8–9 April 2010. Cambridge.
  • Grünewald, P. (2010) The role of storage in a low carbon energy system. ICEPT Energy Policy Discussion Seminar, 8th June 2010, CEP Imperial College. London.