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System analysis for progress and innovation in energy technologies ('SAPIENT')

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Analysing energy through advanced models

The SAPIENT project focused on evaluating advanced energy technologies taking into consideration all aspects, including environmental and economic implications in their implementation.


The key objective of the SAPIENT project was to develop a model-based analysis on energy technology and associated policy-induced changes. Addressing energy and environment policy objectives, researchers focused on a full-scale assessment of energy technology. The project work attempted to present energy technology progress as an internal process within the energy system models and used single and two factor learning curve mechanisms. These mechanisms represent technology improvements as a function of experience (learning by doing), R&D expenditure (learning by research) or both. More specifically, several large-scale energy models, such as the MARKAL have been modified in a way that the technology progress mechanisms are introduced. Thereby, "The Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System", or simply TIMES, which is a large scale energy system model has been also developed to involve more features in comparison to the MARKAL model. The innovative features included within the developed TIMES model can facilitate the exploration of complex energy - environment related issues. Such issues include carbon trading, carbon leakage from one country to another and issues on clean development mechanism. Aided by the European energy-material database, the TIMES has been validated against MARKAL model. The implementation of the single factor technology learning curve has been successfully included within the TIMES. Due to its large size, the introduction of the two-factor learning curve in the TIMES model was difficult to implement. However, the TIMES can be a useful tool for researchers and policy makers as it can provide an analytical depth to related energy-environment issues.

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8 June 2020