At the Copernicus Institute, we work from the understanding that the energy transition is at its core a technical transition at the system level, but that implementation also requires understanding of environmental, techno-economic and other societal factors.
The defining strength our energy research is that collectively our expertise gives full coverage of the energy system, old and new, production and use. Our academic interest is driven by the desire of the researcher to help society address the energy challenge. As a consequence, our research profile is always adapting to tackle the most critical issues and knowledge gaps in the energy domain, and increasingly incorporating social sciences into our program.
Solar energy currently cheapest and cleanest alternative to fossil fuels
The positive effect of solar energy as a sustainable energy source offsets the negative impact of the production of solar panels.
Towards zero greenhouse gas emissions: energy efficiency and demand reduction key
How can we reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050? According to Professor Ernst Worrell, a completely sustainable energy supply is a major challenge.
2018 a dream year for solar panel owners: up to 25% greater yield
2018 was a record year for solar panel owners, especially in the east of the Netherlands. The yield was 10-25% higher than expected.
Solving the solar panel shading problem
Solar panels are mostly found on roofs - this is where the most direct sunlight is found. But what happens when these PV panels find themselves in the shade of trees, chimneys, TV satellite dishes or other buildings?
"We need carbon-based energy, but make it circular and taxed"
With an increasing global population and the industrialisation of the Global South we will need more and more energy to sustain the global economy. Professor Gert Jan Kramer argues that the flow of carbon must become circular and taxed.
Cleaning solar panels in dry weather can offer significant benefits
Most installation companies claim solar panels are maintenance-free. However, for long periods of dry weather cleaning may be beneficial. A lack of rainfall leaves panels covered in dust and less able to absorb sunlight.
Biomass certification will make biofuels a viable part of the energy transition
How can the world transition away from a fossil-based economy? Utrecht University Professor Martin Junginger is certain that biofuels must be part of the equation: not everything can be powered by intermittent green renewables, and the 2050 deadline is just around the corner.
Solar panels in the city: consider well which neighbourhood you want to install them in
Most of the world's population lives in cities. Solar panels can make a significant contribution to a cities energy need. However, the energy production from solar panels fluctuates considerably, and they cannot be installed just anywhere.
Roadmap for solar power systems in the Netherlands
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) commissioned a study that resulted in a new Roadmap for solar power systems and applications in the Netherlands.
Hydropower has potential to provide half of global electricity needs
According to scientists at Utrecht University, hydropower could provide enough electricity to supply almost half of the world, but this was not widely known up to now as only limited information about the potential was available.
Climate Profit for biomass within six years
When biomass in the form of wood pellets is burned in coal plants, it produces environmental benefits within about twenty years when compared to electricity produced using regular fossil fuels.
Providing communities with tools to reduce energy consumption in their homes
Utrecht University researchers Tarek Alskaif and Wilfried van Sark aim to provide communities with technology and support to help reduce energy consumption in their homes, and is running a pilot in East Amsterdam.
Impact of bio-energy production in the USA
The increased demand in biofuels will change how land in the southeast of the United States is being used and managed. This has a major effect on the regional biodiversity. Researchers quantified these land use changes and their effects on the regional biodiversity.
Preventing indirect land use change
Bioenergy is expected to play an important role in future sustainable and low carbon energy supply. But increased production of crops for bioenergy can trigger potential indirect land use change. This has become a critical point of discussion for the sustainability of bioenergy.
REINVENT: Realising Innovations in Transitions for Decarbonisation
Through an interdisciplinary approach the REINVENT team is studying the entire value chians of four industrial sectors to understand the emissions and the possibilities of transition.
Facilitating Large Scale Offshore Wind Energy Production by Developing Offshore Storage and Transport Alternatives (DOSTA)
This project examines offshore energy storage options and alternative methods to transport electricity and/or hydrogen to shore and their feasibility for implementation in the Dutch North Sea.
Sustainable Industry Lab
The Sustainable Industry Lab distills important choices and their consequences of the industrial sustainable transformation between 2020 and 2050. By means of synthesizing academic and expert knowledge, SIL aims to improve the quality of the societal and political debate to reach a carbon neutral Dutch industry by 2050.
Smart Solar Charging
Due to the strong growth of decentralized sustainable electricity generation, gas-free areas and electric transport, the electricity system in the Netherlands is facing unique challenges. At a local (district/city) scale this may lead to increasing congestion problems in urban regions. Networks of smart and bi-directional charging cars, stationary batteries and other decentralised sources offer a fast-growing flexibility potential that can grow into an integrated, city-wide flexibility system.
Algorithmic Computing and Data-mining for Climate integrated Energy System Models ( ACDC-ESM)
The large-scale use of renewable energy poses new challenges, due to daily and yearly fluctuations in the weather. Energy network operators use computer models to help them select the best combination of financial and practical measures to tackle these challenges. The goal of this study is to improve these models.