Application of energy system models for designing a low-carbon society

Toshihiko Nakata, Diego Silva, Mikhail Rodionov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


Rising concern about the effect of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on climate change is pushing national governments and the international community to achieve sustainable development in an economy that is less dependent on carbon emitting activities - a vision that is usually termed a "low-carbon society" (LCS). Since the utilization of energy resources is the main source of GHG emissions, restructuring current energy systems in order to incorporate low-carbon energy technologies is essential for the realization of the LCS vision. Energy policies promoting the penetration of these technologies must view the role of energy in society as a system, composed of several energy resources, conversion technologies and energy demand sectors. The feasibility of the LCS in the future can be better understood by means of energy models. Energy models are valuable mathematical tools based on the systems approach. They have been applied to aid decision-making in energy planning, to analyze energy policies and to analyze the implications arising from the introduction of technologies. The design of the LCS requires innovative energy systems considering a trans-disciplinary approach that integrates multi-dimensional elements, related to social, economic, and environmental aspects. This paper reviews the application of energy models considering scenarios towards an LCS under the energy systems approach. The models reviewed consider the utilization of waste for energy, the penetration of clean coal technologies, transportation sector models as a sample of sectoral approaches, and models related to energy-for-development issues in rural areas of developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-502
Number of pages41
JournalProgress in Energy and Combustion Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug


  • Clean energy technologies
  • Energy models
  • Energy systems
  • Feasibility study
  • Low-carbon society
  • Systems approach
  • Technological innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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