Transformation Strategies for a sustainable future

At the Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Techno-Economic Systems Analysis (IEK-3), we conduct research into how a sustainable energy system can be achieved and what it might look like. To this end, we develop a wide range of highly complex and detailed energy system models that we utilize to assess local-to-global energy systems in an integrated manner. Thereby, we aim to provide the best possible knowledge-based support for the implementation of the clean energy transition.

Departments

Integrated Models and Strategies

The Integrated Models and Strategies department develops applications for the holistic optimal design and transformation of energy systems. The systems range from individual buildings or districts to municipalities and national overall systems and take into account the complete supply chain, from generation to demand. Their bottom-up modeling is complex, which is why various methods for model coupling, systematic complexity reduction, or the integration of mainframe computers are being developed. Furthermore, the decision-making process regarding investments and regulations in the energy system is supported by new visualization techniques and graphical user interfaces.

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Technology Assessment and Networked Infrastructures

The Technology Assessment and Networked Infrastructures department develops models for the analysis and assessment of technologies, infrastructures and resources. The questions it tackles concern renewable resources in a national and global context, as well as networked infrastructures with sector synergy options, as well as future transportation concepts and technologies. Techno-economic analyses of these systems and their evaluation are carried out using temporal, spatial and sectoral high-resolution models, taking into account the possible transformation paths from existing energy systems to climate-neutral ones.

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The Integrated Models and Strategies department develops applications for the holistic optimal design and transformation of energy systems. The systems range from individual buildings or districts to municipalities and national overall systems and take into account the complete supply chain, from generation to demand. Their bottom-up modeling is complex, which is why various methods for model coupling, systematic complexity reduction, or the integration of mainframe computers are being developed. Furthermore, the decision-making process regarding investments and regulations in the energy system is supported by new visualization techniques and graphical user interfaces.

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research groups

Complex Energy System Models and Data Structures

Energy system analysis models are complex and require an extensive hardware and software infrastructure, which will be developed, maintained and integrated in the newly-established Complex Energy System Models and Data Structures group. Hardware and software requirements are defined and sustainable processes and software architectures developed, designed and implemented to enable efficient use and collaborative development among the model developers of the various teams. Furthermore, artificial intelligence-based techniques will be implemented to increase the accuracy of the power system models. Selected models developed at the institute will be deployed as applications in the working group and provided with graphical user interfaces to potentially interested parties.

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Regional Energy Systems

The newly-established Regional Energy Systems group is concerned with the analysis and evaluation of transformation pathways for regional energy systems. The system levels considered range from individual consumers (buildings, industrial sites) and neighborhoods, to cities and districts. The analyses focus on the computer-aided simulation and optimization of energy systems. This is based on the bottom-up modeling of energy demands for the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, as well as the determination of building-specific and regional potentials for the use of renewable sources and energy efficiency. The team’s research focuses on analyses of the role of hydrogen in regional and energy self-sufficient supply systems, and on the decarbonization of industrial processes.

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Integrated Transformation Strategies

In order to achieve the goal of a greenhouse gas-neutral energy supply by 2050, the Integrated Transformation Strategies team develops scientifically-sound, holistic transformation strategies that provide a solid decision-making basis for actors from the political and industrial spheres. For this purpose, optimization models are developed that enable the techno-economic analysis of the complex energy supply system and allow future projections (e.g., of energy and greenhouse gas reduction scenarios) to be made. The analyses focus in particular on a holistic view of the national supply system, as well as the impacts on resource requirements. In addition, to aid the formulation of national greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, they also include the evaluation of individual technologies, recycling strategies, and subsystems in the context of the overall national energy system.

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Energy system analysis models are complex and require an extensive hardware and software infrastructure, which will be developed, maintained and integrated in the newly-established Complex Energy System Models and Data Structures group. Hardware and software requirements are defined and sustainable processes and software architectures developed, designed and implemented to enable efficient use and collaborative development among the model developers of the various teams. Furthermore, artificial intelligence-based techniques will be implemented to increase the accuracy of the power system models. Selected models developed at the institute will be deployed as applications in the working group and provided with graphical user interfaces to potentially interested parties.

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Infrastructures and Sector-Coupling

The technical work of the Infrastructures and Sector Coupling group seeks to answer questions relating to the design and operation of future integrated energy infrastructures spanning the transportation to the distribution levels. In addition to the established energy sources of electricity and natural gas, the researchers are also looking into heat and hydrogen. Methodologically, the team has at its disposal integrated, techno-economic models for cross-energy carrier infrastructure design on the one hand, and detailed models for the optimization and simulation of transmission, gas transmission, and distribution networks, on the other. These models draw on a highly spatially- and temporally-resolved database that also permits consideration of cross-sectoral synergy options. The interplay of integrated network planning and the detailed analysis of individual energy infrastructures allows the extraction of practice-relevant insights into a suitable infrastructure for transport requirements in the sustainable energy system of the future.

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Energy Potentials and Supply Pathways

In order to achieve a greenhouse gas-neutral global energy system, the newly-founded Energy Potentials and Supply Pathways team addresses the worldwide expansion of renewable energy technologies and exchange of their output, as well as their downstream products, such as green hydrogen. For this purpose, both newly-developed and existing techno-economic system models are employed that enable, among other things, the comparison of different process chains and their combinations, as well as import options for Germany and Europe. The analyses focus on energy and material supply security under socio-technical framework conditions, and therefore aim at a robust evaluation of the investigated supply pathways as decision support for political and economic actors.

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Transport Technologies and Future Mobility

The Transport Engineering and Future Mobility team focuses on issues relating to the development of passenger and freight transport. For this purpose, model-based analyses are generally applied to the transport sector, such as on the basis of traffic statistics data and energy balance correlations, with a broad spectrum of possible developments up to the year 2050 and beyond examined in the form of scenarios. The objectives of a significant reduction in environmental impacts and current trends such as electric transportation, autonomous and connected driving, and shared mobility are taken into account. The parameterization of the specifically-developed models is supported by in-depth analyses of the decision-making behavior of mobile persons. The analyses, which are highly spatially- and temporally-resolved, will serve to inform implementation strategies for a greenhouse gas-free, future-oriented transport sector on a regional to European scale.

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The technical work of the Infrastructures and Sector Coupling group seeks to answer questions relating to the design and operation of future integrated energy infrastructures spanning the transportation to the distribution levels. In addition to the established energy sources of electricity and natural gas, the researchers are also looking into heat and hydrogen. Methodologically, the team has at its disposal integrated, techno-economic models for cross-energy carrier infrastructure design on the one hand, and detailed models for the optimization and simulation of transmission, gas transmission, and distribution networks, on the other. These models draw on a highly spatially- and temporally-resolved database that also permits consideration of cross-sectoral synergy options. The interplay of integrated network planning and the detailed analysis of individual energy infrastructures allows the extraction of practice-relevant insights into a suitable infrastructure for transport requirements in the sustainable energy system of the future.

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Director of the Institute

  • Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK)
  • Techno-economic Systems Analysis (IEK-3)
Building 03.2 /
Room 226
+49 2461/61-3076
E-Mail

IEK-3 Team

Our interdisciplinary team of scientists performs energy-related process and systems analyses for the purposes of planning and consultation. Current priorities include the development of energy strategies in order to meet the German Federal Government’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, designing infrastructures for a sustainable and secure energy supply (e.g., via power-to-gas, power-to-fuel, biomass-to-liquid) and the conducting of cost analyses for the implementation and operation of new technologies for future energy markets.