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Research Integrated Research on Energy, Environment and Society | IREES Research

IESA-ESTRAC (Integrated Energy System Analysis within the Energy System Transition Center) | Manuel Sanchez Dieguez

Manuel Sanchez Dieguez
Manuel Sanchez Dieguez

Field | Discipline


Key-words: Green molecules, low-carbon industry, simulation, optimization, Pareto front, energy policies, uncertainties.


It is well known that anthropogenic GHG emissions are threatening earth system’s stability. It is also a well-known fact that renewable energy sources are the alternative that could enable us to decarbonize our economic activities without compromising human welfare. However, most of the subsidies and efforts, at a EU level at least, have been occurring around solar and wind sourced electricity. This presents two challenges: the first one, vastly study so far, is the one brought by the inherent variability of wind and solar power generation, which quizzes the ability of the energy system to operate with those fluctuations and efficiently adopt such technologies; the second one corresponds to the cleaning challenge of the remaining 75% of the energy vectors, as even the most electricity-optimistic scenarios predict that electrification of our activities will hardly exceed 40% of the share by mid-century.

The resulting landscape derives into a complexly interconnected energy system where the impact of wind and solar power generation permeates further beyond the electricity sector into the gas, heat, hydrogen, households, transport and the industrial sectors. This is why the IESA (Integrated Energy Systems Analysis) project was designed within ESTRAC (Energy Systems Transition Center), with the intention of providing further understanding of the interaction among sectors within the energy transition. One of the three lines of research in IESA corresponds to this PhD program, in which the greening of the energy molecules as well as a path towards a low-carbon industry will be explored under the whole energy system analysis umbrella.

The diagram below illustrates the main phases of the program, as well as the models that will be improved and used within each phase. In the first phase, lasting two years, the molecules markets and the decarbonization alternatives in industry will be described in detail to upgrade and synchronize the existing representations of them in the ENSYSI (simulation) and OPERA (optimization) models hosted at PBL and ECN-TNO respectively. The next three phases, conducted in the remaining two years, are intrinsically related and therefore are temporally overlapped. The second phase consists in the use of OPERA to obtain the Pareto front of the confronting GHG emissions and system costs for the whole transition, and to analyze the sectoral and temporal implications of diverse efficient states.

phases of the program
phases of the program

The last two phases will used the obtained Pareto fronts as an efficiency map for the transition, and ENSYSI will be used to explore different scenarios and their relative performance to optimal paths. The third phase will focus in the impact of the available and possible policy toolboxes in the system, and their potential interaction with different investing criteria considered in ENSYSI. In the last phase the expected likelihood of key system parameters will be extracted from literature and the resulting probability distributions will be used to perform multiple simulations in ENSYSI in order to quantify the likelihood of the transition path based on current expectations, and how they perform in the previously determined efficiency map.

Supervision by

More information and contact details can be found on the personal profile of Manuel Sanchez Dieguez

Last modified:11 April 2023 10.13 a.m.