The focus of the Division's work is on the transition to sustainable and climate-neutral energy and industry systems.
In order to achieve a transition to sustainable and climate-neutral structures, the researchers develop consistent transformation pathways of the energy system and energy-intensive industries, analyse the associated infrastructure requirements, carry out holistic technology assessments and deal with pathway dependencies.
The researchers develop application-oriented solutions for the transformation challenges. To this end, they directly involve practical actors in joint projects and hold stakeholder dialogues. The partners mainly include energy-intensive companies and sectors, but also public authorities, departments and local authorities, as well as social organisations and individual actors in Germany and abroad. Within the framework of the transdisciplinary approach, the researchers initiate processes and are involved in the associated projects. The aim is to promote sustainable structural change and innovation for energy and economic transformation.
The researchers build on decades of experience gained from – in recent years alone – over 100 externally-funded projects. Equally important is the cooperation with numerous international networks, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the G7 Low Carbon Society Research Network.
The Division's work is concentrated in four Research Units:
The Sectors and Technologies Research Unit develops strategies for achieving climate neutrality in the energy and industry sectors, simultaneously taking into account the impacts of resource use. Together with relevant actors, the researchers develop transformational knowledge to implement these strategies.
The Systems and Infrastructure Research Unit investigates the resulting interaction of technologies, infrastructure and energy sources in the context of a transformation to a sustainable energy and industry system. The focus is on identifying, analysing and optimising suitable systems and technologies, taking into account pathway dependencies and interactions.
The regional structural change associated with the transformation of energy and industry systems represents a major social challenge, especially for regions traditionally characterised by basic industries. The Structural Change and Innovation Research Unit focuses on developing the sustainable design required for structural change and on enhancing the innovative capacity of industrial regions and companies.
The challenges of transformation do not only affect industrialised countries. Therefore, the International Energy Systems Transformation Research Unit develops solution pathways for sustainable energy systems and industrial transformation in developing regions – especially Southeast Asia, Latin America and the MENA region. It focuses on contributing to an understanding of the socio-economic and technical interactions of a transformation towards a sustainable energy future and thereby providing implementation impulses.