University of Limerick has appointed energy entrepreneur Dr Paddy Finn as Adjunct Professor of Smart Energy Systems.
Dr Finn, who is CEO of Castletroy-based energy tech company VIOTAS, will join the faculty at UL’s Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering.
It completes a loop for Dr Finn who previously spent a total of 12 years at UL, where he attained his undergraduate and doctorate degrees, and undertook two postdoctoral research fellowships.
“Looking back on the time I spent at University of Limerick, from undergraduate through to postdoctoral research fellow, I most fondly remember the teaching opportunities that allowed me share my own learnings, perspectives, and approach to problem solving with others,” said Dr Finn, who founded Limerick smart grid business VIOTAS in 2013 with business partner Duncan O’Toole.
“I am now truly humbled and honoured by my appointment as adjunct professor of Smart Energy Systems at my Alma Mater. I look forward to supporting the department in the enhancement of content relating to smart power systems, so a greater number of graduates can enjoy rewarding careers where they apply their skills and knowledge to solving the technical challenges associated with decarbonisation globally,” he added.
VIOTAS aims to democratise electricity markets and enable a more sustainable future by developing Demand Response technologies and services. These allow commercial and industrial electricity customers to get paid for automatically adjusting their electricity consumption to support the reliability, security and stability of national electricity grids.
The company’s services are used extensively by EirGrid and are credited with playing a key role in curbing the effects of the widely publicised power generation shortages this winter. VIOTAS employ more than 80 staff in multiple countries around the world, including Australia and Poland.
Dr Finn said he developed an interest in Demand Response and smart grid solutions during his time at UL, which he credits to Professor Colin Fitzpatrick, now Head of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at UL.
Professor Fitzpatrick said: “We are thrilled that Paddy will be joining us as an adjunct Professor. Our students will benefit enormously from working with a tech entrepreneur at the cutting edge of smart grid systems who is taking technology that was developed here in Limerick and rolling it out across the world.
“As Ireland and countries across the globe strive to reach ambitious decarbonisations goals over the coming decade, it is essential that our engineering students are exposed to the ideas, technologies and business models which are needed to get us on this sustainable pathway and this is one of many ways that we are embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals across the curriculum here at UL,” he added.