Cooperation with the Fraunhofer ISE, the Fraunhofer ISI, and the University of Stuttgart
Resource requirements for the Energy Transition: an Interdisciplinary Assessment of Scenarios for the Provision of Electricity and Heat
The Energy Transition presents Germany with many challenges. The key question is: which prospective technologies will be used by the Federal Republic of Germany in order to sustainably meet electrical and heating demands and which raw materials are needed for these respective technologies – including the uncertainties regarding strategic risks of the raw materials used. Potential bottlenecks, as was the case with silicon in 2008, must be identified early in order to be avoided. In addition, the economic, ecological, and social effects of the various potential scenarios also need to be analyzed in detail. Accordingly, in order to be able to scientifically assess all risk scenarios, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has lent its support the project InteRessE: “Resource requirements for the Energy Transition: an Interdisciplinary Assessment of Scenarios for the Provision of Electricity and Heat.”
As lead project partner, the academic group of Prof. Dr. Andreas Rathgeber will analyze the most important macroeconomic, microeconomic, and capital market-based price drivers of commodities needed for the Energy Transition. In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), and the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Dr. Rathgeber’s scientists attempt to determine the best possible technology portfolio of the German energy system for the period up to 2050.
Cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE
Strategic resource assessment of scenarios for the Energy Transition
To meet the ever-increasing demand for energy in a climate-friendly manner as well as to create a sustainable energy system, Germany has introduced an initiative called the “Energy Transition”. One of the most important goals of this energy transition is ensuring a continuous increase in generation of electricity from renewable energy sources: in fact, renewable energy sources should provide at least 80% of the country’s total electricity supply by the year 2050. Due to a growing demand for technologies enabling regenerative energy production, a scarcity of raw materials can be expected. In fact, the resulting resource bottlenecks can endanger implementation of the Energy Transition.
In response to this situation, a dissertation – headed by Prof. Dr. Rathgeber – was started in January 2016 at the Fraunhofer ISE in the Energy System Analysis Group. The aim of the dissertation is an evaluation of renewable technologies and components necessary for further development of the energy supply system, while taking into account the various renewable energy scenarios and the required resources for their realization. As a result, this research will yield an assessment of the relevant necessary energy production, storage, and transmission in the electricity sector.
The differing development paths of the technologies are evaluated from an economic perspective. Existing approaches will be further developed to allow an analysis regarding the direct impact of market sizing (of the energy system) on the cost drivers (raw material demand and prices). Vector autoregression models (VARs) are used to answer the question of how future requirements for these materials can affect the existing market balance. The VAR models result in both point and interval forecasts of future volumes and prices as well as a presentation of the interdependencies. The latter can then be used to estimate the impact of shocks - such as additional demand - on other variables (e.g.: price and supply).
The dissertation is co-funded by the Reiner Lemoine Foundation and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.
Research Partnership ForChange
Responsible Structures and Strategies to promote Resilience
Global markets - especially the financial and commodity markets - affect almost all aspects of our society. While these institutions demonstrate an amazing resilience, it is often at the expense of other aspects of society, e.g.: social structures. Is it possible to reverse this dynamic? We aim to better understand the functional principles of markets, and thereby develop answers and advice for decision-makers on how markets can become trailblazers of positive social change, rather than diminishers of social freedom through their own momentum. To be clear: markets and accompanying speculation are neither inherently good nor evil, but merely a product of society; as such, our interest is in being able to control markets in accordance with social goals, rather than being driven by them in opposite directions. Via the self-organizing allocation of scarce goods, markets are able – with proper control – to become models in the transformation of globally-connected societies, thereby significantly increasing their resilience.
Which demands society places on markets, what goals should they pursue, and how do markets and societies interact? Our goal is to ascertain the relevant structures, mechanisms, and interactions, as well as discover and quantify the various relationships. Our results can be communicated to the relevant actors in business and politics, and lead to real-world implementation. As a result, we expect a catalog of requirements for markets, their social roles, and the corresponding degrees of realization, as well as proposed measures – such as how the social control of markets can be improved. The overall objective is a holistic, equally qualitative and quantitative scheme, for evaluating markets and their role in society.
Further information can be found at www.forchange.de.
Cooperation with the German Mineral Resources Agency DERA
Cooperation between the German Mineral Resources Agency DERA and the University of Augsburg (Prof. Rathgeber, Institute of Materials Resource Management)
In June 2014 began recurring meetings in Berlin between the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) and members of the Rathgeber academic group of the Institute for Materials Resource Management (MRM) of the University of Augsburg. Not only was the ongoing cooperation between the two institutions confirmed, which has existed since 2013, but also joint milestones were defined for a successful and continuing cooperation.
In essence, the cooperation is based on the academic exchange of price developments and production of raw materials, which are then empirically analyzed and evaluated by the scientific team of the University of Augsburg. Various statistical parameters are the focus of these price analyses, that ultimately form the basis of assessments for future developments in raw material prices. In addition, further analyses are carried out to embed historical price trends in the context of the latest research findings. Moreover, factors influencing raw material production and the resulting correlation with global economic growth rates are also the subject of investigation.
As a result, the MRM research team of Prof. Dr. Rathgeber and the experts at DERA strive towards a regular exchange and continuous discussion of their common scientific results. Accordingly, a joint public appearance regarding DERA's monitoring of raw materials is also scheduled.
Cooperation with the IDEA Consultancy & Research Association
Research and teaching cooperation between the IDEA Consultancy & Research Association and the Rathgeber academic group
Since mid-2015, the academic group of Prof. Dr. Rathgeber and the IDEA Consultancy & Research Association (a limited liability company), have worked together in a research and teaching capacity.
The IDEA Consultancy & Research Association is active in the field of management consultancy, with a focus on guidance for start-ups, sales, and also career advice. Furthermore, it engages in the crowdfunding field, as well as in teaching, research, and lecturing in the finance and banking fields.
As part of the joint cooperation with the Rathgeber academic group, applied research projects as well as teaching and research activities are underway, with a major focus on the extent to which current research results can be applied in practice.