The current state of system integration shows that existing solutions for the supply and large-scale storage of renewable energies are insufficient due to their volatility – especially in view of declining nuclear and coal-based energy supply. Alternatives such as the use of iron as energy carrier can only contribute to a transformation of the energy system if they meet the following requirements:

Conditions for success

  • Technically feasible
  • Economically viable
  • Ecologically sustainable
  • Politically enforceable, or regulated to encourage innovation
  • Socially accepted, acknowledged and supported as fair and consistent with social welfare

For the social sciences, this involves fundamental questions of governance and innovation policy of the energy transformation as well as applied political-economic questions about the realization and later establishment of the new storage technology. Thus, the parallel investigation of technical and political-economic aspects is crucial. Research field 4 will develop political-economic factors for an integrated systems analysis that goes far beyond the usual modelling of CO2 pricing.

Overview of the research area and its interface to the area of thermodynamic-mathematical systems analysis


  • Develop a governance for political sector coupling
  • Identify relevant and measurable political and economic factors for the interface towards research area 3 (thermodynamic-mathematical systems analysis)
  • Define determinants of the innovation process in Clean Circles
  • Assess political and economic locations for iron reduction
  • Integrate measurable political-economic factors in the multi-criteria systems analysis

Research area coordination

  Name Contact
Prof. Dr. Michèle Knodt
Technical University of Darstadt
+49 6151 16-57353
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Ott
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
+49 721 608-45257