The shortage of fossil resources (peak oil) and the problem of climate change are causing globally intermeshed challenges with regard to energy supply, mobility, and environmental protection. Energy Economics address the design of energy markets and policies, the assessment, acceptance and diffusion of “green” technologies, the sustainability of energy consumer behavior and road users, as well as the planning and controlling of efficient and environmentally friendly goods and information flows in supply chain networks. A recent example is that of the concept of e-mobility with its associated risks and opportunities for existing and new companies. It requires new business models and the creation of new supply chain networks that integrate consumer behavior.
Research questions addressed by the Research Area Energy, Mobility and Environment are:
- Is e-mobility more efficient than fuel cell engines in the long-term?
- Is the “Energiewende” (Germany’s energy turnaround) leading to less environmental damage? Given the rising energy prices, will it be socially fair in the long-term?
- What impacts do investments in large-scale research facilities have?
In order to answer all of these questions, the Research Area EME is currently working on the subjects of “ultra-long-lived capital goods” and the “prosumers”.
With its focus on ultra-long-lived captial goods, EME wants to create a platform which is capable of answering socially relevant questions regarding changing technological developments. Research aims include an investigation into previous and current impacts of existing ultra-long-lived capital goods and an analyses of the impacts of future technologies and different technology paths.
Subjects of investigation are:
- Ultra-long-lived power plant technologies
- Concepts of e-mobility
- Infrastructure projects in the transportation
- Technology pathways in the field of mobile communication
- Large-scale research facilities
- Technologies of buildings
With a focus on the “prosumer”, the Research Area EME is tackling one of the currently most promising, concepts for the solution of energy-related problems; not only to decelerate climate change, but also to guarantee future security of supply. A “prosumer” is a producer and a consumer simultaneously. Renewable energies, storages, and demand response enable the consumer to generate energy and also to store it. In this context, future scientific considerations of economic and social aspects will play a key role. Closely related to these topics are: decentralized supply, micro grids, smart grids, and demand side management.
EME has an interdisciplinary focus and collaborates with engineers and natural and social scientists at RWTH Aachen University and several other research institutes.