Promotion to Professor of Energy Engineering: “Searching for the best solution for our society”

Dalarna University has promoted Xingxing Zhang to Professor of Energy Engineering. With Xingxing Zhang's experience and commitment to urban energy systems, he contributes important knowledge about energy and climate transition.

– I feel great about the promotion! The promotion gives me more confidence about what I have done and what I plan to do in the future. I also feel a different level of responsibility. Being a professor means a lot, not only to me, but also to our whole group. As a new professor, I will have more responsibility, and think substantially and carefully for the School at the University and beyond my own teaching and research interests. I also feel peaceful inside because I know this is not the end of my career but a new ‘start of sailing’. There are still many challenges for me and my colleagues to tackle together, says Xingxing Zhang.

Solutions for energy-efficient buildings

He received his PhD in Engineering In 2014 from the University of Hull in England. Before coming to Dalarna University, he was Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, also in England. Xingxing Zhang’s first position at Dalarna University was in 2017 as Senior Lecturer in Energy Technology. He was appointed Associate Professor in 2018 and was then promoted to Professor in October 2022.

Xingxing leads the City Information Modeling group, and is the subject editor of Building Simulation and a member of the editorial board for the journals Buildings, Energy and Built Environment and Intelligent Buildings International. Xingxing has built his research around positive energy districts and uses machine learning to study them and to search for the best solution for our society.

What motivates you as a researcher?

– I would say there are three key elements that motivate me as a researcher: (1) Interest. I like to explore new things and learn from the unknown; (2) Freedom. As a researcher, I have great freedom to think and create, and this brings me a lot of happiness and satisfaction; (3) Responsibility. It is thanks to resources from society that I have my education. It is necessary to reward society and contribute to positive development for future generations.

What research do you focus on?

– My research is from two perspectives. The first is to develop an integrated framework for dynamic simulation of the coupled district energy systems, including electric vehicles, photovoltaic solar panels, microgrids, heat pumps, district heating, and thermal battery storage. The second is to develop a responsive digital twin of energy management systems for different users to monitor, control and optimise their energy use and available resources for further decision-making.

I have developed digital models to predict the energy demand in a district and then find the best place to install solar panels. I will also explore the possibility of switching excess electricity from solar panels to charge their electric vehicle or to transfer it to neighbours.

Dalarna University is leading a research project on the development of positive energy district (PED) and carbon-neutral city

Photovoltaic and electric vehicle utilisation – from challenges to opportunities

How do students benefit from your research?

– I teach undergraduate and master's programmes in energy, solar energy, and energy-efficient buildings. I often use the latest results from research projects in my teaching, such as simulation tools, new concepts, or new business models for energy. Students can take part in interdisciplinary research through seminars or group work, such as those with a focus on new solutions for energy-efficient buildings.

Inaugural Lectures - Presentation of Research

Newly inaugurated professors will each give an inaugural lecture that is open to the public to attend. Inaugural lectures will take place on Thursday, March 23 in the University Library, Campus Falun. Xingxing Zhang will share his experiences and research at 12.00 p.m.

Xingxing Zhang
Professor Energy Engineering
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