Third place in the Czech Envi Thesis competition for Patrik Šimůnek, a student of FEE CTU in Prague

The aim of my bachelor's thesis dealing with the analysis of the use of renewable energy sources in Europe was not to end up somewhere forgotten on a shelf, says Patrik Šimůnek, currently a student of master's degree program Electrical Engineering, Power engineering and Management at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague. He can be happy, his work was awarded third place by the jury of the national competition Czech Envi Thesis composed of environmental scientists, sociologists and naturalists. Patrik, who likes riding bicycle, does fitness or martial arts in his free time, is already thinking about how to develop his research.

Congratulations on your success in the Czech Envi Thesis. Why did you enter the competition?
In my bachelor’s thesis I also focused on the environment, so I decided to try it and I signed up. I was wondering how experts from other fields will evaluate my work. And then I got to the finals among the five most successful, where I finished in third place.

Did you expect to succeed?
Not at all! For me, the success was already that I got to the finals. I thought that the papers of other students, for example dealing with water, etc., would be appraised better. Renewable energy sources are not so much addressed in the field of the environment. However, in my opinion, they should be.

And can you briefly summarize what was your bachelor thesis about?
I researched the possibilities of support for the construction of photovoltaics in office buildings and whether subsidies are the best way to support it. It occurred to me that photovoltaics in office buildings, where energy consumption takes place at the same time as energy production, is not much addressed. Then I compared current forms of support in three countries - the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain. And I was also interested in how a different type of support – one that works in other countries – would function in Czechia. My financial analysis showed that the installation of photovoltaics in an office building pays off even without state support. Within 5-7 years, the investment returns and in the rest of its life (25 years) it generates profit.

Do you intend to continue to address this topic?
Yes, I want to follow up. I will make a financial model of a local distribution system – how it could work in the Czech Republic. For example, if we have three buildings, we can build photovoltaics on two of them and it is not technically possible for the third. And how energy transfer would work between these buildings. My assumption is that photovoltaics will be even more profitable in this case. There will hopefully be support in law for this by 2023.

How do you personally see the future of energetics in 20 years? What it will look like?
I think that self-sufficient communities will emerge. Apartment owners or residents of the housing estate will arrange the supply of electricity themselves using their own local resources. They will buy solar panels, heat pumps, accumulate energy and provide and resell it to each other.

Aspern Seestadt project in Vienna, source: wienerzeitung.at

What trends or news do you find interesting?
I like the Aspern housing project in Vienna, which is something like an energy island and is energy self-sufficient. It is a model that we can use in our country as well. Germans and Greeks, for example, are thinking the same direction. In Greece, something very similar to already functioning Aspern project is being built. I also find interesting and I would personally support modular reactors. But it faces the same problem as, for example, wind farms in Germany. We all support it, but if it is to be built behind our house, we are against it.

What would you like to do when you graduate?
In the future, I want to focus on research projects and analyzes of energy and economy in the Czech Republic and in Europe, both for the public and private sector. Determine how dealing with energy can work in the future. And what positive things and trends can we take from our neighbors and try to implement them in our country.

And maybe you have photovoltaics yourself?
I live in a block of flats, so unfortunately, I don't. Only my power bank has a solar cell :-) But otherwise I can't put photovoltaics anywhere. But there are other options, such as investing in funds that build photovoltaic power plants.

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