Skip Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Dr Phil Grünewald

FICE, PhD, MSc, Dipl-Eng (FH)

Dr Phil Grünewald is a lecturer in Engineering at Oriel, and was formerly a Jackson Junior Research Fellow in Energy at the College.

Dr Grünewald has taught on MSc and MBA programmes at Warwick, Loughborough, Imperial, Reading and Oxford, covering energy systems, storage, demand, economics and policy. Posts and achievements to date include:

  • 2023-2028: Research Director, Energy Demand Observatory and Laboratory (EDOL)
  • 2021-2022: Oxford Martin Fellow, Reconfiguring Energy Needs, Equity and Wellbeing (ReNEW)
  • 2015 – 2020: EPSRC Fellow (SoGE, Oxford), 5 year Early Career Fellowship on Measuring and Evaluating Time-use and Electricity-use Relationships (METER)
  • 2013 – 2015: Deputy Director of Energy Research (Oxford), assisted Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith in the creation of the Oxford Energy Network
  • 2009 – 2013:  PhD in Energy Storage (Imperial)
  • 2008 – 2009: MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures (Imperial)
  • 2005 – 2008: Led manufacture of laser processing tools for the photo-voltaic industry (Oerlikon)
  • 2002 – 2005: Developed and built Intel’s first Extreme Ultra-Violet (13nm) Micro-stepper
  • 2001 – 2002: Cycled around the world
  • 2000 – 2004: Marie Curie Fellow (Exitech) – laser processing
  • 1996 – 1999: Business-Engineering degree (Wedel, Germany)

Research Interests

Dr Grünewald leads the Flexibility Theme in the Lower Carbon Futures Group (Environmental Change Institute, SoGE).

Flexibility is vital for the operation of electricity systems. Flexibility is needed for supply to follow the ever changing demand for electricity. Every morning the system operator has to ensure that supply can ramp up fast enough. In the early evening, when our demand tends to reach its peak, sufficient capacity must be on stand-by to ensure the lights stay on.

However, this model is about to be turned upside down. Solar photo-voltaics and wind energy have fallen in cost so dramatically in recent years. They begin to displace conventional power stations and with them the valuable ability to ramp up and down with demand. Renewables not only displace flexible sources, they further add to the variability in the system. New forms of flexibility are therefore urgently needed.

Two promising candidates are storage and demand response. Dr Grünewald conducted whole system research on the role for storage. A key finding was that despite its cost, future overall system costs can be greatly reduced, even at modest storage efficiencies. However, the extent and type of storage required is very sensitive to the other option: demand response. If we were the change the timing of our electricity use, billions of pounds could be saved. But is that realistic?

His current study explores what we do with electricity in the first place, and asks how the timing could be changed through appropriate interventions. See

Selected Publications