Institute for Energy and Climate Research – Techno-economic Systems Analysis (IEK-3)
The IEK-3 conducts technologically-neutral studies on technologies, technology paths, value chains, and market ramp-ups in future energy systems, taking into account sector synergies within the target framework of the COP-21 guidelines and those of the German federal government. The goal is to model the entire energy system of Germany, its regions, the European continent and import-relevant global regions. The work serves to provide the necessary knowledge for action on the transformation of the energy system by decision-makers in politics and the economy, and to inform the public.
For this purpose, the ETHOS (Energy Transformation Pathway Optimization Suite) program was developed at the IEK-3, and is used to calculate total energy systems across all sectors with the lowest costs, within definable framework conditions. ETHOS is based on more than 14 post-graduate dissertations and is specifically dedicated to sector-coupling. It is based on extensively determined and verified publicly-available data from technical publications, maps, statistics, and other sources. All sectors are covered, including the electricity and gas industries, as well as transportation, heavy industry, and households. More than 1300 technologies with more than 2000 links among them are considered, allowing the identification of important technically- and economically-relevant pathways. Social considerations are also taken into account in the simulation through appropriate adaptation of the input data. The IEK-3 is well-connected throughout Germany via project work, and internationally through committee work, for example at the International Energy Agency.
Contribution to the H2ATLAS-AFRICA Project
The IEK-3 produces highly spatially- and temporally-resolved analyses of both the renewable energy potential in conjunction with land suitability assessments, as well as green hydrogen potential for western Africa and southern Africa, thus making a significant contribution to the project. In particular, the team merges its own and the individual partners’ results into a centralized system model. This permits analysis of the costs and potential of green hydrogen, taking into account all of the external factors considered, such as local energy demand or water scarcity. Energy transport options and their costs are also examined at various levels, from local synergies to export to Germany. The results are then visually processed by the team and made available to the public in the form of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) web application.
The IEK-3 team places particular emphasis on the far-reaching land suitability analyses for renewable energy sources, based on the information provided by the African partners, as well as national and international datasets, in order to ensure comparability of the results both within and outside the project. Based on this, potential sites for possible renewable electricity generation plants are determined and, thereby, highly temporally and spatially-resolved renewable electricity potentials and costs are individually calculated for the installation of ground-mounted solar photovoltaics, as well as onshore and offshore wind turbines. This forms the basis for determining local green hydrogen potential and analyzing the synergies of an interconnected energy system across the project’s respective regions. This also includes complete hydrogen infrastructure and export options.
The results represent, for the first time, a detailed, consistent potential analysis of renewable energy potential, up to green hydrogen production, for western and southern Africa, and can serve as a basis for future economic and political decision-making due to the unprecedented level of detail presented. Furthermore, the developed approaches are flexibly applicable to any region around the world.