Energy Systems

Mitigating and adapting to climate change requires decarbonizing electricity while ensuring resilience of supply, since a warming planet will lead to greater extremes in weather and, plausibly, in power outages. Although it is well known that long-duration outages severely impact economies, such outages are usually not well characterized or modeled in grid infrastructure planning tools. Here, we bring together data and modeling techniques and show how they can be used to characterize and model long-duration outages.
A growing number of governments are pledging to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. Despite such ambitions, realized emissions reductions continue to fall alarmingly short of modeled energy transition pathways for achieving net-zero. This gap is largely a result of the difficulty of realistically modeling all the techno-economic and sociopolitical capabilities that are required to deliver actual emissions reductions.
Graph showing differences in energy consumption in the USA
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated energy insecurity and economic hardship among vulnerable populations. This paper provides robust empirical evidence of the degree to which COVID-19 mitigation measures, especially the mandates of school closure and limiting business operations, have impacted electricity consumption behavior in low-income and ethnic minority groups in the United States. We use a regression discontinuity design applied to individual-consumer-level high-frequency smart meter data in Arizona and Illinois to highlight the disparities in mitigation measure impacts.
Graphical abstract from Inequitable and heterogeneous impacts on electricity consumption from COVID-19 mitigation measures showing changes accross the USA
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated energy insecurity and economic hardship among vulnerable populations. This paper provides robust empirical evidence of the degree to which COVID-19 mitigation measures, especially the mandates of school closure and limiting business operations, have impacted electricity consumption behavior in low-income and ethnic minority groups in the United States. We use a regression discontinuity design applied to individual-consumer-level high-frequency smart meter data in Arizona and Illinois to highlight the disparities in mitigation measure impacts.
Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households remain less likely to adopt rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) than higher-income households. A transient period of inequitable adoption is common among emerging technologies but stakeholders are calling for an accelerated transition to equitable rooftop PV adoption. To date, researchers have focused on demand-side drivers of PV adoption inequity, but supply-side factors could also play a role. Here, we use quote data to explore whether PV installers implement income-targeted marketing and the extent to which such strategies drive adoption inequity.
Heating and cooling in buildings account for nearly 20% of energy use globally. The goal of heating and cooling systems is to maintain the thermal comfort of a building's human occupants, typically by keeping the interior air temperature at a setpoint. However, if one could maintain the occupant's thermal comfort while changing the setpoint, large energy savings are possible.
Economically viable electric vehicle lithium-ion battery recycling is increasingly needed; however routes to profitability are still unclear. We present a comprehensive, holistic techno-economic model as a framework to directly compare recycling locations and processes, providing a key tool for recycling cost optimization in an international battery recycling economy. We show that recycling can be economically viable, with cost/profit ranging from (−21.43 - +21.91) $·kWh−1 but strongly depends on transport distances, wages, pack design and recycling method.
Owing to its versatility, biomass can be used for a range of CO2 mitigation and removal options. The recent adoption of end-of-century temperature targets at the global scale, along with mid-century economy-wide net zero emission targets in Europe, has boosted demand forecasts for this valuable resource. Given the limited nature of sustainable biomass supply, it is important to understand most efficient uses of biomass, both in terms of avoided CO2 emissions (i.e., substituted energy and economic services) and CO2 removal.
The chemical industry needs to significantly decrease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in order to meet the 2050 carbon neutrality goal. Utilization of CO2 as a chemical feedstock for bulk products is a promising way to mitigate industrial emissions; however, CO2-based manufacturing is currently not competitive with the established petrochemical methods and its deployment requires creation of a new value chain.
Various studies have shown that maritime sector needs increased use of zero emission vessels in service by 2030 in order to achieve an absolute reduction in CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050 (consistent with a 2 °C pathway). These vessels, with operational emissions containing zero or negligible greenhouse gas share, would need to represent a significant portion of newbuilds from that point onwards.