Please tell us about yourself
Gowri Suryanarayana develops smart algorithms for VITO/EnergyVille that enable a future driven by sustainable energy sources.
You are part of VITO/EnergyVille. What are you working on at the moment?
I develop models and algorithms for energy optimisation and predicting energy needs and prices. Large scale integration of renewable energy sources presents us with many challenges, due to the volatile nature of these resources. Having a good understanding of the energy demand of consumers and the supply of energy allows us to coordinate the two. For example, we try to steer the energy consumption of individuals and businesses to times when there is high energy production. This could also have a favourable effect on the price in addition to the environment. Our research team has a lot of collaborations with peer institutions abroad, many of these through European projects.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
After my engineering studies and working as a software engineer in India, I went to Bath in the United Kingdom for a Master’s in Mathematics. I then pursued a doctorate in applied mathematics at KU Leuven. In the final months of my doctoral programme, I saw a vacancy at VITO that was a good match. My knowledge of algorithms and computer science is a perfect fit at EnergyVille. I’ve been working here since June 2016. It was quite challenging to work in the energy sector: a completely new domain for me. At the same time, it gives me great satisfaction to apply my theoretical expertise to practical applications that are of great relevance to a sustainable future. And to be able to do this without losing the link with academic research is great.
How do you see your future at VITO?
I would like to broaden my experience in the energy domain and work on the societal challenges of tomorrow. EnergyVille is the perfect place for that. As KU Leuven is also part of EnergyVille, I’m in touch with academic personnel and doctoral students which gives me great satisfaction. I would like to work on this relationship further and eventually be involved in the supervision of doctoral students.