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Special Issue "Energy Transition Engineering"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "B: Energy and Environment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 10209

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Susan Krumdieck
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
Interests: transportation; peak oil asset planning and risk analysis; travel behaviour adaptive capacity electricity supply sustainability; remote power systems; demand response geothermal transition engineering for emerging sustainability
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Every aspect of human enterprise has always been intimately reliant on access to and engineered use of energy. The COP21 Paris Agreement (2015) requires the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 oC. The relationship between energy transition and the long-term wellbeing of societies and ecosystems is now a critically important interdisciplinary research area. Energy transition means a dramatic decline of fossil fuel production of at least 10% per annum. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nonessential travel, retail and manufacturing to be shut down, consequently resulting in an 11% decline in oil demand over the first half of 2020, according to the IEA. The COVID-19 response has already spurred the development of online meeting and teaching products. The curtailment of personal and public transport also provided new perspectives for urban residents on quality of life, with traffic down to a bare minimum. This Special Issue invites an early and innovative analysis of interventions, policies, new businesses, technology innovations and ways to facilitate behaviour and expectations changes. For the few past decades, sustainable energy researchers have focused on renewable energy production and alternative technologies. In this Special Issue, we seek the technical analysis of projects involving changes to engineered systems, but also new kinds of markets, IT, communications, property development, social business, policy, and behaviour.  Energy transition projects are necessarily “upstream” in nature. Innovations in research and even research proposals and research methodologies that are “ground up” are also sought for sharing within the energy transition field. Examples of energy transition research projects are: 

  • Building renovation program design and financial innovations which achieve passive standards for low energy consumption, plus walking access to activity systems and affordability.
  • Changes to urban form that result in no need for private vehicle, quality community interaction and play spaces, low crime, urban forestation, community gardening, affordable housing and commercial property and water quality.
  • Changes to a manufacturing, business platform and product line that eliminates disposable plastic.
  • Changes to urban development policy and real estate models that result in affordable residential living with access to activities via active modes.
  • Changes to agricultural practices and economic models that build up soil and forest ecology, and provide full nutrition access for all people, with no wastage.
  • Changes to corporate and local policies that result in partnerships in production, conservation and recovery, as well as economic participation and education.
  • Strategic ecological reserve constructions that lead to the recovery of fresh water, ocean, grassland, desert and forest ecosystems, while improving human understanding, enjoyment and enterprise. 

The need is clear for these and many other energy research projects, in order to achieve the transition to the future liveable cities, viable economies, low carbon energy systems, recovering ecosystems and stabilised climate. Energy transition engineering requires new types of research that are interdisciplinary and innovative, and integrate engineering, management and policy. Energy transition is emerging, but the rigorous treatment of innovative processes, design, implementation and outcomes is necessary to enable evolution from last century’s projects of growth to this century’s projects of transition to very low energy.  

Papers in any subject area are invited for consideration as energy transition engineering projects, so long as they address: 

  • Historical studies of the dynamics of change in energy technology, economics, end use, resource use, and examination of past energy transitions.
  • Big data collection and management and methods to deal with the complexity of today’s energy ecosystems. In particular, studies of perception and energy end use behaviour in buildings and transportation are particularly of interest.
  • Biophysical energy scenarios that explore the future if historical trends continue, and critically evaluate the probability of new technologies to fill the technology and efficiency wedges between future growing energy use and declining carbon emissions.
  • Analysis of oil, gas and other energy sources in the long term, especially modelling of geological and energy return on energy invested (EROI) of energy sources and different types of energy systems.
  • Future studies of energy supply and end use systems. Innovative modelling and exploration of biophysically rational futures.
  • Design of policy, business and community opportunities for transition developments.
  • Descriptions of energy transition projects with case studies of design, stakeholders, investment or marketing strategies. In particular, novel project plans and new analysis tools that could be useful to others in similar situations are welcomed.

Case studies for completed energy transition projects with an analysis of the outcomes, learning from the project, and evaluation of the potential for further projects to lead to localised

Dr. Susan Krumdieck
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Assessing Global Long-Term EROI of Gas: A Net-Energy Perspective on the Energy Transition
Energies 2021, 14(16), 5112; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14165112 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 7361
Abstract
Natural gas is expected to play an important role in the coming low-carbon energy transition. However, conventional gas resources are gradually being replaced by unconventional ones and a question remains: to what extent is net-energy production impacted by the use of lower-quality energy [...] Read more.
Natural gas is expected to play an important role in the coming low-carbon energy transition. However, conventional gas resources are gradually being replaced by unconventional ones and a question remains: to what extent is net-energy production impacted by the use of lower-quality energy sources? This aspect of the energy transition was only partially explored in previous discussions. To fill this gap, this paper incorporates standard energy-return-on-investment (EROI) estimates and dynamic functions into the GlobalShift bottom-up model at a global level. We find that the energy necessary to produce gas (including direct and indirect energy and material costs) corresponds to 6.7% of the gross energy produced at present, and is growing at an exponential rate: by 2050, it will reach 23.7%. Our results highlight the necessity of viewing the energy transition through the net-energy prism and call for a greater number of EROI studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition Engineering)
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Article
A Sequential Optimization-Simulation Approach for Planning the Transition to the Low Carbon Freight System with Case Study in the North Island of New Zealand
Energies 2021, 14(11), 3339; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14113339 - 06 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1204
Abstract
Freight movement has always been, and always will be an essential activity. Freight transport is one of the most challenging sectors to transition to net-zero carbon. Traffic assignment, mode allocation, network planning, hub location, train scheduling and terminal design problem-solving have previously been [...] Read more.
Freight movement has always been, and always will be an essential activity. Freight transport is one of the most challenging sectors to transition to net-zero carbon. Traffic assignment, mode allocation, network planning, hub location, train scheduling and terminal design problem-solving have previously been used to address cost and operation efficiencies. In this study, the interdisciplinary transition innovation, management and engineering (InTIME) methodology was used for the conceptualization, redesign and redevelopment of the existing freight systems to achieve a downshift in fossil energy consumption. The fourth step of the InTIME methodology is the conceptualization of a long-term future intermodal transport system that can serve the current freight task. The novelty of our approach stands in considering the full range of freight supply chain factors as a whole, using an optimization-simulation approach as if we were designing the low-carbon system of 2121. For the optimization, ArcGIS software was used to set up a multimodal network model. Route and mode selection were delivered through the optimization of energy use within the network. Complementarily, Anylogic software was used to build a GIS-based discrete event simulation model and set up different experiments to enhance the solution offered by the network analysis. The results outline the resources needed (i.e., number of railway tracks, train speed, size of railyards, number of cranes and forklifts at terminals) to serve the freight task. The results can be backcast to reveal the most efficient investments in the near term. In the case of New Zealand’s North Island, the implementation of strategic terminals, with corresponding handling resources and railyards, could deliver 47% emissions reduction from the sector by 2030, ahead of longer lead-time upgrades like electrification of the railway infrastructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition Engineering)
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Review

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Review
Challenges for the Transition to Low-Temperature Heat in the UK: A Review
Energies 2021, 14(21), 7181; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14217181 - 02 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 762
Abstract
To reach net-zero emissions by 2050, buildings in the UK need to replace natural gas boilers with heat pumps and district heating. These technologies are efficient at reduced flow/return temperatures, typically 55/25 °C, while traditional heating systems are designed for 82/71 °C, and [...] Read more.
To reach net-zero emissions by 2050, buildings in the UK need to replace natural gas boilers with heat pumps and district heating. These technologies are efficient at reduced flow/return temperatures, typically 55/25 °C, while traditional heating systems are designed for 82/71 °C, and an oversized heating system can help this temperature transition. This paper reviews how heating systems have been sized over time in the UK and the degree of oversizing in existing buildings. It also reviews if lessons from other countries can be applied to the UK’s building stock. The results show that methods to size a heating system have not changed over time, but the modern level of comfort, the retrofit history of buildings and the use of margin lead to the heating system being generally oversized. It is not possible to identify a specific trend by age, use or archetype. Buildings in Scandinavia have a nascent readiness for low-temperature heat as they can use it for most of the year without retrofit. Limitations come primarily from the faults and malfunctions of such systems. In the UK, it is estimated that 10% of domestic buildings would be ready for a supply temperature of 55 °C during extreme external conditions and more buildings at part-load operation. Lessons from Scandinavia should be considered with caution. The building stock in the UK generally underperforms compared to other EU buildings, with heating systems in the UK operating at higher temperatures and with night set-back; the importance of providing a low-return temperature does not exist in the UK despite being beneficial for condensing boiler operation. Sweden and Denmark started to develop district heating technologies with limitations to supply temperatures some 40 years ago whereas the UK is only just starting to consider similar measures in 2021. Recommendations for policy makers in this context have been drawn from this review in the conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition Engineering)
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