A future changeover to renewable energies is the subject of a new study by a team of economic scientists. Two major problems with our energy supplies make such a transition inevitable: the scarcity of fossil fuels and the global warming we are causing by burning them.
A project sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund FWF will analyse this transition in theoretical terms from a number of different perspectives. Researchers will look particularly at the economic aspects and obstacles - especially taking dynamic developments into account.
It´s something of a paradox: Though fossil fuels are feeding global warming AND running out, their consumption at the hands of humanity continues to rise unabated. With all of the unforeseeable consequences. Yet there appears to be a simple solution: alternative and renewable energies. Their use is unlimited and they do not give off any additional greenhouse gases. However, the economic conditions and obstacles that could be precipitated by mankind´s move to widespread use of such energies are still largely unknown or are being disregarded. A team from the University of Vienna´s Institute of Business Administration is doing a great deal to change that.
Prof. Franz Wirl, Project Manager and Chair in Industry, Energy and Environment, is planning on employing a whole range of methods: "Over the next three years we will be using an array of approaches to examine different aspects of the economic conditions involved in the transition to renewable energies. Methods include equilibrium models, dynamic optimisation and deterministic, as well as stochastic and dynamic games. Though our project is theoretical in nature it will definitely involve applied and empirical techniques as well."
Consideration of the oil peak, or the time of maximum oil production, will form an integral part of the work. The oil peak is essentially determined by the extent of reserves and the rate of extraction. Prof. Wirl and his team are now analysing the impact of the oil peak on Russia in particular, being the world´s second-largest oil-exporting nation.
The different political regulatory mechanisms and their limitations also form a focal aspect of the project. It is these that incentivise the use of renewable energy - or place obstacles in the path of burning fossil fuels - thereby furthering the market penetration of alternative energy sources. In actual fact, their consequences and limitations are still fairly uncertain - although even the public debate is clear on the fact that the external effects of our current energy usage are in need of regulation or government intervention.
LESS IS MORE
A drastic scenario that brings this home to us has been dubbed the "green paradox": Reducing fossil fuel consumption in industrialised countries would bring down the price of oil, gas and coal, which would actually increase their consumption - particularly in developing and emerging nations. Another point that is often brushed aside in this context, but which will now be examined in more detail, is the fact that governments´ ability to commit themselves long term is limited - as the Greek debt crisis currently confirms. What this means is that investors - large or small - cannot actually rely on "promised" conditions being permanent.
However, these are not the only elements that stand in the way of a move to alternative energies - and this FWF project sets out to examine other market and natural forces in more detail. These include the competition between biomass and food production over arable land. But it also involves looking at the "erratic" availability of wind and solar power and their effects on the landscape around us. In this endeavour, Prof. Wirl and his team will be making a fundamental contribution to a better understanding of what will, hopefully, be an unavoidable shift in our energy supply system and what options we have for dealing with it.Scientific Contact:
Judith Sandberger | PR&D
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences