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Title: Enabling cooperative and negotiated energy exchange in remote communities
Author: Alam, Muddasser
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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Energy poverty at the household level is defined as the lack of access to electricity and reliance on the traditional use of biomass for cooking, and is a serious hindrance to economic and social development. It is estimated that 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity and almost 2.7 billion people rely on biomass for cooking, a majority of whom live in small communities scattered over vast areas of land (mostly in the Sub-Saharan Africa and the developing Asia). Access to electricity is a serious issue as a number of socio-economic factors, from health to education, rely heavily on electricity. Recent initiatives have sought to provide these remote communities with off-grid renewable microgeneration infrastructure such as solar panels, and electric batteries. At present, these resources (i.e., microgeneration and storage) are operated in isolation for individual home needs, which results in an inefficient and costly use of resources, especially in the case of electric batteries which are expensive and have a limited number of charging cycles. We envision that by connecting homes together in a remote community and enabling energy exchange between them, this microgeneration infrastructure can be used more efficiently. Against this background, in this thesis we investigate the methods and processes through which homes in a remote community can exchange energy. We note that remote communities lack general infrastructure such as power supply systems (e.g., the electricity grid) or communication networks (e.g., the internet), that is taken for granted in urban areas. Taking these challenges into account and using insights from knowledge domains such game theory and multi-agent systems, we present two solutions: (i) a cooperative energy exchange solution and (ii) a negotiated energy exchange solution, in order to enable energy exchange in remote communities. Our cooperative energy exchange solution enables connected homes in a remote community to form a coalition and exchange energy. We show that such coalition a results in two surpluses: (i) reduction in the overall battery usage and (ii) reduction in the energy storage losses. Each agents's contribution to the coalition is calculated by its Shapley value or, by its approximated Shapley value in case of large communities. Using real world data, we empirically evaluate our solution to show that energy exchange: (i) can reduce the need for battery charging (by close to 65%) in a community; compared with when they do not exchange energy, and (ii) can improve the efficient use of energy (by up to 10% under certain conditions) compared with no energy exchange. Our negotiated energy exchange solution enables agents to negotiate directly with each other and reach energy exchange agreements. Negotiation over energy exchange is an interdependent multi-issue type of negotiation that is regarded as very difficult and complex. We present a negotiation protocol, named Energy Exchange Protocol (EEP), which simplifies this negotiation by restricting the offers that agents can make to each other. These restrictions are engineered such that agents, negotiation under the EEP, have a strategy profile in subgame perfect Nash equilibrium. We show that our negotiation protocol is tractable, concurrent, scalable and leads to Pareto-optimal outcomes (within restricted the set of offers) in a decentralised manner. Using real world data, we empirically evaluate our protocol and show that, in this instance, a society of agents can: (i) improve the overall utilities by 14% and (ii) reduce their overall use of the batteries by 37%, compared to when they do not exchange energy.
Supervisor: Rogers, Alexander ; Ramchurn, Sarvapali Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science ; TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering