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"Then I say the Earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its right no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its existence"

Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

"If there are to be problems, may they come during my life-time so that I can resolve them and give my children the chance of a good life."

Kenyan proverb

"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives"

Abba Eban

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Invited lectures

Towards a climate-neutral energy supply - pathways for the German energy transition and implications for global developments

The pressure to rapidly and comprehensively reduce global greenhouse gas emissions is constantly increasing - forest fires in many regions of the world, the increase in extreme weather events and melting glaciers provide us with clear evidence of this. The energy sector is responsible for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore the conversion of the energy supply towards climate neutrality plays a decisive role. Using Germany as an example, the lecture shows various development pathways towards a climate-neutral energy supply, which are based on hourly simulation and optimization of the entire energy system and its transition. Social perspectives and behaviors are taken into account, because this transformation will only succeed if society follows the chosen pathway. The results of the investigation show that - depending on social behavior - the German energy transition relies on a more or less large amount of imported synthetic energy sources that are produced from renewable electricity in other regions in order to achieve the goal of a climate-neutral energy supply at reasonable costs. In addition important implications can be derived from the analysis with regard to necessary technology and system developments, which are valid far beyond the German example.

Prof. Hans-Martin Henning
Fraunhofer ISE
Freiburg, Germany



Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning is Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany and Professor of “Solar Energy Systems” at the Institute of Sustainable Systems Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Freiburg. He is member of acatech (German National Academy of Science and Engineering) and spokesperson of the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance. Prof. Dr. Henning obtained his PhD in physics at Oldenburg University in 1993. Since 1994, he has been working at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, holding several different positions of responsibility over the years. In 2014 he was appointed Professor of Technical Energy Systems at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT and in 2017 Director of Fraunhofer ISE. Henning’s research focus lies in building energy technology and energy system analysis. He plays a leading role in the development of computer models for the holistic simulation and optimization of complex energy systems. The simulation results are used as a basis for investigations to develop national / regional energy systems with consideration of all energy carriers and consumption sectors.


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