International undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students
The oil crises of the 1970s provoked debates about the finite limits of energy resources. It also triggered an increase in energy efficiency and innovations in the production of alternative fuels / renewable energy technologies. These changes should lead to low-carbon energy technologies, which are often decentralised due to their positive socioeconomic and ecological impacts.
Yet despite these developments, the following decades saw energy consumption increase dramatically – first in the Global North, and later in the Global South. For all that, electric power is still scarce, and electricity supply is unreliable in many developing countries such as India, Indonesia and most African states, particularly in remote locations. If these countries increase their use of fossil fuels to meet the rising energy demands of their growing populations while established major emitters fail to dramatically reduce their emissions, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will lead to unmanageable global warming.
Since 1992, the international community has negotiated successive agreements that aim to considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero levels in the second part of this century.
These agreements assume an intensifying effort to replace fossil fuels (or reduce their consumption) by the use of renewable energy sources. The agreements should thereby drive significant improvements in the energy efficiency of industries, transport and cities. However, the need for rapid emission reductions goes well beyond what a transition to non-carbon based fuels can provide – raising questions about geoengineering and other potential technologies and their impacts. The need for rapid emissions cuts and the growing global demand for (renewable) energy raise critical questions about the technological potential as well as the socioeconomic and political implications of various technologies and approaches.
The summer school will start with a theoretical introduction to the political background of the topic. Decisions at all levels of governance will be discussed. The course will also address the ways in which they contribute to managing – or slowing down – how the growing demand for renewable energy is met. The political context of climate change, climate justice and the current energy transition has been strongly influenced by international climate negotiations, from the Kyoto Protocol to the P4G Summit Copenhagen, from the Paris Agreement to the COP24 held in Poland in December 2018.
There is an urgent global need for scientists who are capable of working on novel energy conversion and storage systems at universities and research institutes as well as in the industrial sector. As future energy systems will be diverse, a broad knowledge of different conversion and storage applications is needed. Therefore, we will cover fundamental knowledge, specific case studies as well as possible solutions for novel energy systems from an engineering point of view. The development of flexible decentralised smart energy systems and the hybridisation of renewable energy systems will be presented during the summer school. These topics are widely discussed in energy strategic planning on the European and international level in order to end up with efficient systems with a minimum environmental impact and CO2 footprint.
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