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Modelling the socio-technological multi-level architecture of the energy system and its transformation

Duration: 01 June 2019–31 May 2022

Logo of the Modeling the socio-technical Multi-level architecture of the Energy system and its Transformation project © Johannes Weyer​/​TU Dortmund

Research proposal

The research project MoMeEnT aims to model the different levels of the complex socio-technological system of energy supply using multi-agent approaches - in such a way that the dynamic interdependencies and non-linear interactions within and between the technological and social modules can be mapped, recorded and analysed.

The Technology Studies Group is working on the sub-project "Interdependent socio-technological modelling for the transformation of the multi-level energy supply system" together with the Institute for Energy Systems, Energy Efficiency and Energy Economics (ie³). In this project, the technical focus is placed on the imminent expansion of future supply systems, caused, among other things, by sector coupling. However, electric vehicles, photovoltaic roof systems and heat pumps as examples of new components and mechanisms should not only be considered from a purely technical point of view. Their impact on grid operation also strongly depends on the individual decisions and behaviour of the actors (e.g. households) - which in turn are influenced by their resources (e.g., financial, social or cognitive) and external incentives (e.g., subsidies). It is precisely this consideration of the subjective dimension as well as the consideration of heterogeneous individual situations that are the essential factors that set the planned multi-level modelling apart from previous, purely technical models.

This will enable conclusions to be drawn about possible scenarios and possible approaches for transforming the energy system into one based on renewable sources and identifying starting points for its design and, where appropriate, its optimisation.

Project partner

Altogether, three teams are working on the project to investigate different dimensions of the transformation of the energy supply and later integrate them into a single, interdisciplinary model.

Interdependent Socio-technological Modelling of the Energy Supply’s Multi-level Transformation

Modelling Demand and Supply Dynamics in Socio-technological Energy Systems

Social and Technological Modelling of Interdependencies for Efficient Integration of Industry into Energy Supply


Location & approach

The  Technical University of Dortmund campus is located near the Dortmund West autobahn junction, where the A45  (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the A40 (Ruhrschnellweg B1). The most convenient autobahn exits are found on the A45 in Dortmund-Eichlinghofen (closer to the south campus) and on the B1 / A40 in Dortmund-Dorstfeld (closer to the north campus). The university is signposted at both exits.

The TU Dortmund has its own S-Bahn station ("Dortmund Universität") on the North Campus. From there, the S-Bahn line S1 runs every 20 or 30 minutes to Dortmund’s central station and in the opposite direction to Düsseldorf’s central station via "Bahnhof Düsseldorf Flughafen". This makes the university directly accessible from the cities of Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg. Furthermore, the TU Dortmund may be reached via buslines 445, 447 and 462.
Individual timetable information for public transport is also available on the website of the Rhine-Ruhr Transport Association, and the Dortmund Transport Authority also offers an interactive route network map.

One of the landmarks of the TU is the H-Bahn overhead monorail which connects the two campuses. Line 1 runs every 10 minutes between the stops Dortmund Eichlinghofen and the Technology Center via Campus South and Dortmund Universität S. Line 2 shuttles every 5 minutes between the stops Campus North and Campus South. It covers this distance in two minutes.

To get from the Dortmund airport to the campus, we recommend taking the "Airport Express" to Dortmund's central train station (20 minutes), and then boarding the S-Bahn there.  A wider range of international flight connections is offered by Düsseldorf Airport, about 60 kilometres away, which can be reached directly by S-Bahn from the university station.