NBIA Colloquium by Martin Greiner on ZOOM (Aarhus University)

Renewable Energy Networks - a playground for Applied Theoretical Physics

In view of critical CO2 emissions and depleting conventional resources, a transformation towards a sustainable energy system is needed. Applied Theoretical Physics and the Physics of Complex Networks are able to contribute to the solution of this grand challenge. We discuss a simple network model, which describes a future European electricity system with a high share of wind and solar power generation. The weather acts as the fluctuating driving force. Weather data covering multiple years are converted into prospective wind and solar power generation with good spatial and temporal resolution. The weather-driven network modelling represents a direct approach to obtain fundamental estimates on the required backup infrastructure of highly renewable large-scale energy systems. Estimates on the required amount of conventional backup power plants, transmission lines and storage will be given. The optimization of energy system costs is addressed, leading to new design concepts like the optimal heterogeneity and the benefit of cooperation. Related to diffusion processes on networks, flow tracing algorithms are described, which help to clarify how the resulting costs are shared in a fair manner. An extended outlook about current research on the coupling of the different energy sectors, the techno-economical design and socio-political implementation of decarbonization roadmaps into the future as well as the impact of climate change will be given at the end.

Martin Greiner has been Professor at the Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, Denmark, since 2010. He holds a PhD degree (1990) and a habilitation (1995) in Theoretical Physics from Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany. Previous appointments include a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona and a position as Research Scientist position at the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden. He was for ten years Senior Research Scientist at Siemens AG in Munich before taking up his current position in Aarhus. His current fields of interests include large-scale renewable energy systems, turbulence and wind-farms, and the physics of complex networks.

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The colloquium will be moderated by Mauricio Bustamante and we strongly encourage you to participate actively by asking questions during the talk. Mauricio will briefly remind you how this can be done just before the colloquium starts.