"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The Report of the U.N. Brundtland Commission, Our Common Future, 1987
"Then I say the Earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its right no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its existence"

Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789
Under the patronage:

Impact of the Transition Towards 100% Renewable Energy Systems on Primary and Final Energy Demand
Wed / 02.10. @ 11:30


The energy transition towards 100% renewable energy (RE) systems is the most likely pathway to fulfil the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement and United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, since fossil fuels are not compatible to the set targets. Fossil carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear energy are both too expensive and sustainability guardrails are violated. In addition, bioenergy is limited due to sustainability constraints. Thus, the abundant renewable electricity sources solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy complemented by some hydropower have to cover the energy demand for all required energy services. A fast growing base of literature investigates 100% RE systems. Electricity can be converted in all forms of energy typically leading to respective conversion losses (e.g. power-to-fuels) and many existing combustion processes can be substituted by electricity-based options typically leading to energy efficiency gains (e.g. substitution of: combustion vehicles with battery electric vehicles; thermal power plants with solar PV, wind and hydro electricity; and heat pumps for space heating), in addition more storage is needed in a RE-based system inducing respective storage losses.

This leads to the fundamental research question whether the energy system in total improves or degrades in overall energy system efficiency, measured best in impact of the broad electrification on primary and final energy demand.



Investigate the impact of the energy transition with increasing renewable electricity generation on the total primary energy demand (TPED) and the total final energy demand (TFED).


What was done

The energy system transition in global-local resolution from 2015 to 2050 has been traced in TPED and TFED in the composition and its absolute value for a Best Policy Scenario (BPS) while the demand in energy services has been continuously grown driven by higher standards of living for a growing world population.


How it was done and validated

The LUT Energy System Transition model has been used to describe the transition scenario in full hourly resolution for the world structured in 145 regions and for the energy sectors power, heat, transport and desalination applying in total 106 technologies. The BPS has been compared for all periods with the Business-as-usual (BAU) state, assuming the state of technology of the year 2015 for all technologies.


Major results

  • A global compound average annual growth rate of about 1.8% in TFED drives the transition. This is aggregated by final energy demand growth for power and heat, desalinated water demand and transportation demand linked to powertrain assumptions. This leads to a comprehensive electrification, which massively increases overall energy efficiency, to an even higher growth rate in provided energy services. This results in an average annual growth rate of about 0.4% in TPED.
  • Despite a tremendous increase in energy services leading to significant higher final energy demand (+43%), the TPED increases from around 125,000 TWh in 2015 to just over 150,000 TWh by 2050 (+21%), which is a result of the massive electrification across the different energy sectors.
  • TFED changes structurally moderately from an electricity, heat and fuel share in 2015 of 22%, 42%, 36%, respectively, to 45%, 40%, 15% in 2050. Whereas the TPED changes structurally massively from an electricity, heat, fuel bioenergy, fuel fossil/nuclear share in 2015 of 3%, 0%, 8%, 89%, respectively, to 90%, 4%, 6%, 0% in 2050.
  • World population is expected to grow from 7.2 to 9.7 billion, while the average per capita PED decreases from around 17 MWh/person in 2015 to 12 MWh/person by 2035 and increases up to around 15 MWh/person by 2050, while demand for energy services continuously increase. This dip in per capita PED is driven by massive efficiency gains in the easier to electrify fields in the first half of the transition and partly re-balanced by more energy-intensive Power-to-X processes in later periods, but also by overall rise in standards of living, in particular in emerging and developing countries.
  • TPED decreases from almost 130,000 TWh in 2015 to around 105,000 TWh by 2035 and increases up to 150,000 TWh by 2050 in this study (which assumes high electrification). In comparison, current practices (low electrification) would result in a TPED of nearly 300,000 TWh by 2050. The high levels of electrification lead to energy savings of about 50% compared to low electrification with current practices.
  • The massive gain in energy efficiency is primarily due to a high level of electrification of TPED of more than 90% in 2050, saving nearly 150,000 TWh compared to the continuation of current practices (low electrification). TPED shifts from being driven by combustion of fossil fuels in 2015 towards low-cost electricity from renewables by 2050.
  • Overall storage losses are small, since the bulk storage is battery storage with high levels of efficiency and storage of fuels (hydrogen, liquid fuels) which is also highly efficient.



  • Thermal processes which are a consequence of fossil and nuclear fuels of more than 80% in present TPED are energy inefficient and will be substituted in all sectors by higher levels of electrification and this massive gain in efficiency outweighs the systemic drop in efficiency of remaining thermal processes which are mainly shifted to Power-to-X on the supply side and strong growth of storage demand, which is in most case highly efficient storage.
  • The gain in overall efficiency can be quantified by a factor of about 2, since the growing energy services demand can be supplied by about half of the TPED in a BPS compared to a BAU reference.

A field of future investigations will be energy-return on energy invested and net energy aspects for the entire energy system of the present and throughout the transition.

Prof. Christian Breyer
LUT University
Lappeenranta, Finland

Christian Breyer is Professor for Solar Economy at LUT University, Finland. His major expertise is research of technological and economic characteristics of renewable energy systems specialising for highly renewable energy systems, on a local but also global scale. Research includes integrated sector analyses with power, heat, transport, desalination, industry, NETs, CCU and Power-to-X. He worked previously for Reiner Lemoine Institut, Berlin, and Q-Cells (now: Hanwha Q Cells). He is member of ETIP PV, IEA-PVPS, scientific committee of the EU PVSEC and IRES, chairman at the Energy Watch Group and reviewer for the IPCC.

Rethinking Future Industrial Energy Systems
Thu / 03.10. @ 11:30

Solving the energy trilemma of the low-carbon, affordable and secure supply of energy will require a complete rethinking of future energy systems. However, to make things yet more challenging, there are strong and complex interactions and interdependencies between the provision of energy (E), food (F) and water systems (W), known as the EFW nexus. Any action in energy, water or food has impacts on the other two. Maximising the sustainable provision of energy requires that energy systems should strive to satisfy human needs in an economically viable, environmentally benign and socially acceptable way [1]. Added to the complexity of the interactions and interdependencies are future uncertainties regarding governmental policies and new developments in energy technology.  Solutions should be local to geographic regions. Given these major uncertainties, there is a need for flexible local solutions to allow for the local supply and demand of energy, and future changes in supply and demand, and technology developments.


The energy intensive process industries account for around 70% of total industrial energy consumption [2] and 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions [3]. For example, the chemical and petrochemical industries use 10% of global energy consumption and generate 7% of greenhouse gas emissions. In the energy intensive process industries as a whole, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are currently mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels to produce process heat and power. There is also currently gross inefficiency in the way this energy is used, with around 40% wasted as low-temperature heat (<150° C), mainly to cooling towers, air cooling and furnace stack losses [4].

Primary energy in the energy intensive process industries is currently overwhelmingly dominated by the use of fossil fuels, mainly natural gas and oil, but also coal in some countries. If these industries are to be transformed from huge energy consumers and greenhouse gas emitters, a switch to renewables and waste-to-energy systems is required. However, the energy intensive process industries also have some special energy requirements that bring additional difficulties for such a switch. Firstly, the heating requirement is often far higher than the power demand. Secondly, heat is often required at very high temperatures. This means that in the future if there is a wholesale switch to renewable power, then the use of renewable power has limited potential to substitute fossil fuels directly, because of the large heat demand currently satisfied by steam heating and the high-temperature heat demand currently satisfied by firing fossil fuels in fired heaters. Thus, an appropriate mix of different renewables would be required to satisfy differing heat and power demands. Heat can be provided by biomass, biogas or waste-to-energy for high-temperature process heating and the generation of steam and power at least to some extent by wind and solar photovoltaics. However, because of the intermittency of supply of renewable power, some storage will be required. Such storage is also beneficial for smoothing variations in demand and to compensate for variable power tariffs. In addition to storing electricity, storage can be used for heating or cooling. Currently, energy storage within the energy intensive process industries is hardly practised at all.

To solve this problem requires rethinking the way in which industrial energy is supplied, combining the most appropriate sources of energy. In principle, the supply of energy can also be distributed closer to the end-users. Energy hubs supplying distributed energy need to exploit an appropriate combination of different energy sources, including renewables, waste-to-energy systems, the symbiotic exploitation of waste heat and energy storage to match local power-to-heat ratio demand and heating requirements both in terms of duty and temperature in a more efficient and environmentally sustainable way than current approaches.

To address these challenges, requires a new design framework  that adopts a holistic and life cycle approach for the conceptual design of integrated industrial energy systems, utilising a range of energy sources, including in principle fossil and renewable energy, from both distributed and centralised sources, and including the use of strategic energy storage. To address the variability of supply and demand, temporal variations must also be incorporated in the design framework to allow for variability in energy supply, demand and cost tariffs. The design framework must also include life cycle considerations, accounting for economic costs, environmental and social impacts and constraints in the EWF nexus. In principle, this will permit the design of self-sufficient ultra-low-carbon solutions.

Prof. Robin Smith
The University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Professor Robin Smith is Director of the Centre for Process Integration in the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science of the University of Manchester. He is co-founder of Process Integration Limited and Process Asset Integration Management Limited (ProAim), both spin-out companies from the University. He has extensive industrial experience with Rohm & Haas in process investigation, production and process design, and with ICI in process modelling and process integration. He has acted extensively as a consultant to industry in process integration projects. He has published widely in the field of process integration and is author of “Chemical Process Design and Integration”, published by Wiley. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in the UK and a Chartered Engineer. In 1992 he was awarded the Hanson Medal of the Institution of Chemical Engineers for his work on waste minimisation. In 2018 he was awarded the Sargent Medal of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in recognition of over 35 years leadership and pioneering research leading to conceptual development of advanced process integration principles and methodologies.

Where to Start? The Sustainability of Water Systems in the Global Village
Fri / 04.10. @ 11:30

Water is a complex part of the natural, social and built environment that covers two thirds of our planet. It affects and influences every aspect of our planet from anthropogenic activities to our climate, weather, geomorphology and the flora and fauna on land, in our seas, rivers and oceans and in the air. It is estimated that 4,600 cubic km of water is used annually, about 70% in agriculture, 20% in industry and 10% in households. Demand grows typically at 1% per annum. It is predicted that the world’s population could reach 10.2 billion by 2050, up by about 8 billion from today, two thirds of who will live in urban areas, which will put this already endangered valuable natural resource under increased strain. Water quality in the water cycle continues to deteriorate in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America due to runoff of fertilisers, hydrocarbons, discarded plastics and the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated industrial and municipal wastewater. Climate change models predict that wet regions will be wetter and dry regions drier. This will exacerbate existing pressures and create additional ones on the natural, social and built environment in terms of water shortages, further health issues and migration and economic and political strife. At the World Water Forum in Brasilia in March 2018, Gilbert Houngbo, Chair of United Nations Water warned that ‘in the face of accelerated consumption, increasing environmental degradation and the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, we clearly need new ways of manage competing demands on our freshwater resources.’ This keynote plenary talk presents some aspects of these challenges, examines the sustainability of water systems and discusses the role we can play as researchers and academics in our various fields to support and inform society to fight climate change and balance all our natural resources including water.

Prof. Aoife Mary Foley
The University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Professor Aoife Foley, is Chair in Net Zero Infrastructure at the University of Manchester and Managing Editor in Chief of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. She has a h-index of 37 (Scopus), 35 (Web of Science) and 42 (Google Scholar). She is a member of the Editorial Board of Elsevier’s Renewable Energy and the Editorial Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers Proceedings in Transport. She is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of Engineers Ireland and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Authority and a member of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (VTS) and Power Energy Society (PES). She has a BE(Hons) (1996) (Civil & Environmental Engineering) and a PhD (2011) (Energy Engineering) from University College Cork and an MSc (1999) (Transportation Engineering) from Trinity College Dublin.

100% Renewable Smart Energy Systems
Sat / 05.10. @ 11:30

This presentation elaborate on the concept of Smart Energy Systems and present a case of applying such concept to the design of a 100% renewable energy future for a local community in Europe by 2050. Aalborg in Denmark is used as a case and the study focus on how such a local community are to be seen as part of the Danish as well as the European overall strategies.

In recent years, the terms “Smart Energy” and “Smart Energy Systems” have been used to express an approach that reaches broader than the term “Smart grid”. Where Smart Grids focus primarily on the electricity sector, Smart Energy Systems take an integrated holistic focus on the inclusion of more sectors (electricity, heating, cooling, industry, buildings and transportation) and allows for the identification of more achievable and affordable solutions to the transformation into future renewable and sustainable energy solutions.

It is often highlighted how the transition to renewable energy supply calls for significant electricity storage. However, one has to move beyond the electricity-only focus and take a holistic energy system view to identify optimal solutions for integrating renewable energy. In this presentation, an integrated cross-sector approach is used to argue the most efficient and least-cost storage options for the entire renewable energy system concluding that the best storage solutions cannot be found through analyses focusing on the individual sub-sectors. Moreover, such approach leads to a solutions primarily based on existing energy infrastructures rather than leading to significant extra investments.

The presentation presents a set of methods and criteria to design Smart Energy Cities, while taking into account the context of 100% renewable energy on a national level. Cities and municipalities should handle locally what concerns local demands, but acknowledge the national context when discussing resources and industrial and transport demands. To illustrate the method, it is applied to the case of transitioning the municipality of Aalborg to a 100% renewable Smart Energy System within the context of a Danish and European energy system.

Prof. Henrik Lund
Aalborg University
Aalborg, Denmark

Henrik Lund (born 2 July 1960) is a Danish engineer (M.Sc.Eng.1985) and Professor in Energy Planning at Aalborg University in Denmark. He holds a Ph.D. in Implementation of Sustainable Energy Systems (1990), and a Dr. Techn. in Choice Awareness and Renewable Energy Systems (2009). Henrik Lund is a highly ranked world-leading researcher. He is listed among ISI Highly Cited researchers ranking him among the top 1% researchers in the world within engineering and on the Stanford list of top 2% scientists. Henrik Lund has many years of management experience as head of department for approx. 200 staff persons (1996-2002), head of section for approx. 50 persons (2014 – 2016) and head of research group of 20-30 persons (2002 – present). During his time the Sustainable Energy Planning research group at Aalborg University has now grown to approx. 30 staff members including 4 professors. Henrik Lund is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s high-impact journal Energy with annual 10000+ submissions. Henrik Lund is the author of more than 400 books and articles including the book ''Renewable Energy Systems”. He is the architect behind the advanced energy system analysis software EnergyPLAN, which is a freeware used worldwide that have form the basis of more than 200 peer reviewed journal papers around the world.


Benchmarking the performance of cities across energy, water and environment systems
related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.