In 1993 Malcolm McCulloch moved to Oxford University to start up the Electrical Power Group.
Climate change and social inequity are the big challenges facing our civilisation on its path to a sustainable future. The group’s focus is to develop thought leadership and to research and commercialise sustainable energy technologies. The group’s ethos is to celebrate diversity and to develop the next generation of impactful researchers. Malcolm applies systems though to two active themes of research: 1) energy access for the developing world and 2) integrating renewable generation into existing grids.
A key challenge is to develop new clean technologies to meet the need of providing sustainable electricity to the billion people without access to reliable electricity. This provides a triple benefit – the end users benefit from the provision of the service, the impact on climate change is minimal and many of the core ideas are relevant to the rest of the world.
A second challenge is to de-carbonise the existing energy sector. Electricity is becoming the energy vector of choice, implying that the Power sector, Mobility sector and Heating sector are becoming more intertwined. This provides opportunities for synergies across systems that have not yet been developed.
Malcolm’s approach is to deeply understand the end users current and future needs and capabilities and to develop an energy system that grows with the end-user.
Specific projects include the exploiting the spatio-temporal nature grid, the weak hybrid grid, the provision of mobility and energy services from electric vehicles, and the use of effective thermal energy stores.
Developing the next generation of superb researchers and practitioners in sustainable energy is important to ensure a growing number of high passionate people continue to ensure we accelerate to a globally sustainable future. Malcolm actively develops all those who work with him to ensure that they reach their potential, regardless of their gender or where they were born.
Malcolm has spun out four for-profit companies and two not-for-profit enterprises. He has over 200 publications and over 25 patent and patent applications. He is a 2018 Laurate of the Gusi Peace Prize.