Bob van der Zwaan's research while affiliated with University of Amsterdam and other places

Publications (112)

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Successful deployment of renewable fuel production requires substantial cost reduction along the entire value chain of the underlying manufacturing routes. To improve their performance, renewable fuel production technologies should follow a cost-reducing learning curve. In this article, we adopt recent evidence that learning-by-doing is directly in...
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This paper presents two different scenarios for the energy system of the Netherlands that achieve the Dutch government's national target of near net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. Using the system optimisation model OPERA, the authors have analysed the technology, sector and cost implications of the assumptions underlying these scenarios. W...
Preprint
Research and development (R&D) investments foster green innovation, which is key to decarbonize the energy system and attain long-term climate goals. In this paper, we link three integrated assessment models that possess a macroeconomic framework – WITCH, MERGE-ETL and GEM-E3 – with the bottom-up technology-rich energy system model TIAM-ECN, in ord...
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In this paper we identify drivers for energy poverty in Europe using machine learning. The establishment of predictors for energy poverty valid across countries is a call made by many experts, since it could provide a basis to effectively target energy-poor households with adequate policy measures. We apply a “low income, high expenditure” framewor...
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Renewable hydrogen is increasingly recognized as one of the key decarbonisation options compatible with the EU's climate neutrality goal. We quantify possible cost reductions for renewable hydrogen production until 2050 through electrolysis with off-grid renewable electricity generation systems. We focus on the use of solar PV and on- and offshore...
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Supporting investments in energy efficiency is considered a robust strategy to achieve a successful transition to low-carbon energy systems in line with the Paris Agreement. Increased energy efficiency levels are expected to reduce the need for supply-side investments in controversial technologies, such as carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) a...
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This article introduces and describes OPERA, a new technology-rich bottom-up energy system optimization model for the Netherlands. We give a detailed specification of OPERA’s underlying methodology and approach, as well as a description of its multiple applications. The model has been used extensively to formulate strategic policy advice on energy...
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Mitigation pathways exploring end-of-century temperature targets often entail temperature overshoot. Little is known about the additional climate risks generated by overshooting temperature. Here we assessed the benefits of limiting overshoot. We computed the probabilistic impacts for different warming targets and overshoot levels on the basis of a...
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Global emissions scenarios play a critical role in the assessment of strategies to mitigate climate change. The current scenarios, however, are criticized because they feature strategies with pronounced overshoot of the global temperature goal, requiring a long-term repair phase to draw temperatures down again through net-negative emissions. Some i...
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Because of differences in irradiation levels, it could be more efficient to produce solar electricity and hydrogen in North Africa and import these energy carriers to Europe, rather than generating them at higher costs domestically in Europe. From a global climate change mitigation point of view exploiting such efficiencies can be profitable, since...
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Natural gas is a potent greenhouse gas but remains an attractive energy resource for a good number of reasons. Because complementing the use of natural gas with carbon dioxide capture and storage yields several drawbacks, producing synthetic natural gas instead could be an interesting alternative. Methanation is an established and well-known proces...
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Energy poverty is receiving increased attention in developed countries like the Netherlands. Although it only affects a relatively small share of the population, it constitutes a stern challenge that is hard to quantify and monitor, hence difficult to effectively tackle through adequate policy measures. In this paper we introduce a framework to cat...
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The Paris Agreement does not only stipulate to limit the global average temperature increase to well below 2 °C, it also calls for 'making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions'. Consequently, there is an urgent need to understand the implications of climate targets for energy systems and quantify the associat...
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A large part of the population in many African countries lacks access to electricity, in contrast to the ambition of reaching universal energy access as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals. Off-grid electricity technologies have been proposed as an important means to solve this challenge. It is uncertain, however, at what rate these tech...
Preprint
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Global emissions scenarios play a critical role in the assessment of strategies to mitigate climate change and their related societal transformations. The current generation of scenarios, however, are criticized because they rely heavily on net negative CO2 emissions (NNCE) that result from allowing temperature limits to be temporarily exceeded. In...
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CCS is expected to play a sizeable role over the next several decades to drastically abate greenhouse gas emissions in the energy system by 2050. With the integrated assessment model TIAM-ECN we project how large its contribution could be in Europe in the power sector and industry, and analyze how this contribution may be affected by cost decline (...
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Using the integrated assessment model TIAM-ECN, we analyze how Madagascar's nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement can be implemented in both the energy and non-energy sectors. We explore how the country's national climate goal for 2030 can be reached under two different cost levels for climate change mitigation through lan...
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The use of geothermal energy in Europe is expected to grow rapidly over the next decades, since this energy resource is generally abundant, ubiquitous, versatile, low-carbon, and non-intermittent. We have expanded and adapted the integrated assessment model TIAM-ECN to more adequately reflect geothermal energy potentials and to better represent the...
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The microwave oven has penetrated into many kitchens throughout the world and has substituted old polluting forms of cooking with new cleaner ways. Its exponential market uptake in the residential sector has been realized thanks to substantial cost reductions during its deployment phase, which started more than 70 years ago. Today, the annual produ...
Article
Bart Sweerts worked as a junior researcher at the Energy Transition department of TNO in the Netherlands, where he focused on energy technology development and implementation. During his studies in Earth Science he (co)-authored two peer-reviewed scientific articles published in leading energy journals. Currently, Bart works at Shell, where he focu...
Article
The use of geothermal energy is expected to grow rapidly over the next several decades at many places in the world, since geothermal resources are abundant, and because this renewable energy option is both a low-carbon and non-intermittent technology. With the integrated assessment model TIAM-ECN we quantify how large its growth could be until 2050...
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In this policy perspective we argue that mankind likely needs to achieve negative CO2 emissions before 2050, describe the transition to CO2-neutrality and CO2-negativity, and illustrate the possibly critical role played herein by CO2 use.
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This article reports evidence for substantial public support for the large-scale deployment of three renewable energy options in Kenya: wind, solar PV, and geothermal energy. With these renewable technologies, the government of Kenya could make a large contribution to reaching its national commitment under the Paris Agreement. Prices, infrastructur...
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China is the largest worldwide consumer of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity, with 130 GW of installed capacity as of 2017. China’s PV capacity is expected to reach at least 400 GW by 2030, to provide 10% of its primary energy. However, anthropogenic aerosol emissions and changes in cloud cover affect solar radiation in China. Here, we use observ...
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In the version of this Article originally published, the units of ‘Total electricity yield’ and ‘Potential electricity gain’ in Table 1 were incorrectly presented as GWh yr–1; they should have been TWh yr–1. These errors have now been corrected.
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For Europe to meet its climate targets, large financial investments in the energy sector are required. Cost reductions for low-carbon power generation are critical to achieve these targets. Particularly pertinent are decreases in financing costs as measured by the WACC. The cost of capital has a bigger impact on the LCOE for renewable energy than f...
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African countries are in a unique position to reap the socio-economic and environmental benefits of renewable resources as a means for meeting increasing energy demand in a sustainable way. A critical obstacle for the deployment of renewable energy technologies in Africa is the difficulty of attracting sufficient and affordable finance. This paper...
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Energy, water, and food systems have so far mostly been studied independently. In this chapter, we argue that it is important to take an “energy-water-food nexus approach” to analyzing these three resource systems. After briefly introducing the emerging literature on the energy-water-food nexus, we inspect the interrelationship between energy and w...
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One of the main goals in pursuing sustainable development is to provide universal access to modern energy services, notably through the use of off-grid renewable energy technologies. To date, integrated assessment models (IAMs) poorly address energy access targets. In the context of research dedicated to energy scenarios and climate change mitigati...
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This paper performs a multi-model comparison to assess strategies for adaptation to climate change impacts in hydropower generation in Brazil under two Representative Concentration Pathways. The approach used allows for evaluating the interactions between climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies under low and high impact scenarios throug...
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In this paper we investigate the prospects for the large-scale use of low-emission energy technologies in Africa. Many African countries have recently experienced substantial economic growth and aim at fulfilling much of the energy needs associated with continuing along paths of economic expansion by exploiting their large domestic potentials of re...
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Solar energy driven processes with H2O and CO2 as basic feed-stocks can produce "solar fuels" that could substitute their fossil based counterparts. This article summarizes the main findings of a techno-economic analysis of systems that can generate different types of fuels with renewable energy as starting point. These "renewable fuels" could pote...
Article
Integrated assessment models (IAMs) are computer-based instruments used to assess the implications of human activity on the human and earth system. They are simultaneously also used to explore possible response strategies to climate change. As IAMs operate simplified representations of real-world processes within their model structures, they have b...
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In this article we investigate the prospects for large-scale hydropower deployment in Ethiopia. With two distinct modelling approaches we find high projections for future hydropower generation: between 71 and 87 TWh/yr by 2050 in a stringent climate change control scenario in which Ethiopia contributes substantially to global efforts to reach the 2...
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We studied the possibility of converting waste toilet paper (WTP) into electricity. WTP is a waste stream with continuous availability and negative cost, but it is difficult to handle, as it contains fecal matter. The process we explored had two stages: WTP gasification followed by direct conversion into electricity in a high-temperature solid-oxid...
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From 2007 to 2012 shale gas production in the US expanded at an astounding average growth rate of over 50%/yr, and thereby increased nearly tenfold over this short time period alone. Hydraulic fracturing technology, or “fracking”, as well as new directional drilling techniques, played key roles in this shale gas revolution, by allowing for extracti...
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In this paper Kenya’s climate change mitigation ambitions are analysed from an energy system perspective, with a focus on the role of renewable energy technologies. At COP-21 in 2015 in Paris, Kenya has committed to a ‘nationally determined contribution’ of reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in 2030 in comparison to a business-as-usu...
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Small hydropower (SHP) has existed for more than a century in Colombia, and is gaining reserved interest as an option to mitigating climate change. In this paper we investigate the prospects for SHP in Colombia based on an analysis of economies-of-scale and learning-by-doing effects. We created an inventory of SHP plants realized in Colombia betwee...
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Public fear over environmental and health impacts of CO2 storage, or over potential leakage of CO2 from geological reservoirs, is among the reasons why over the past decade CCS has not yet been deployed on a scale large enough so as to meaningfully contribute to mitigate climate change. Storage of CO2 under the seabed moves this climate mitigation...
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Ensuring energy security and mitigating climate change are key energy policy priorities. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group III report emphasized that climate policies can deliver energy security as a co-benefit, in large part through reducing energy imports. Using five state-of-the-art global energy-economy models a...
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This paper provides perspectives on the role of Latin American and Latin American countries in meeting global abatement goals, based on the scenarios developed through the CLIMACAP-LAMP modeling study. Abatement potential in Latin America, among other things, is influenced by its development status, the large contributions of non-CO2 and land use c...
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In this paper we investigate energy supply investment requirements in Latin America until 2050 through a multi-model approach as jointly applied in the CLIMACAP-LAMP research project. We compare a business-as-usual scenario needed to satisfy anticipated future energy demand with a set of scenarios that aim to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in t...
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This paper systematically compares modeled rates of change provided by global integrated assessment models aiming for the 2 �C objective to historically observed rates of change. Such a comparison can provide insights into the difficulty of achieving such stringent climate stabilization scenarios. The analysis focuses specifically on the rates of c...
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Although Africa's share in the global energy system is only small today, ongoing population growth and economic development imply that this can change significantly. Here, we discuss long-term energy-system developments in Africa using results of a recent model inter-comparison study on global climate policy. We focus on Africa's role in the wider...
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In this paper we present an up-to-date literature review on employment opportunities associated with the deployment of renewable energy technology. We identified approximately 70 studies and data sources published over the past decade that report analysed or observed employment impacts of renewable energy growth. These publications cover many diffe...
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In this chapter we investigate burden-sharing regimes for the allocation of greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations under a 2 °C long-term climatepolicy framework, and present our findings derived from an integrated energyeconomy-climate assessment. In our analysis we focus on two different allocationschemes: a per-capita-based scheme, and a...
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Mexico’s climate policy sets ambitious national greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets—30% versus a business-as-usual baseline by 2020, 50% versus 2000 by 2050. However, these goals are at odds with recent energy and emission trends in the country. Both energy use and GHG emissions in Mexico have grown substantially over the last two decad...
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Integrated assessment models can help in quantifying the implications of international climate agreements and regional climate action. This paper reviews scenario results from model intercomparison projects to explore different possible outcomes of post-2020 climate negotiations, recently announced pledges and their relation to the 2 °C target. We...
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Attaining deep greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in industry in order to support a stringent climate change control target will be difficult without recourse to CO2 capture and storage (CCS). Using the insights from a long-term bottom-up energy systems model, and undertaking a sectoral assessment, we investigated the importance of CCS in the...
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In this article we analyze how passenger car transportation in Europe may change this century under permanent high oil prices and stringent climate control policy. We focus on electricity and hydrogen as principal candidate energy carriers, because these two options are increasingly believed to become the long-term competitors in the transport sect...
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This paper examines the near- and the long-term contribution of regional and sectoral bioenergy use in response to both regionally diverse near-term policies and longer-term global climate change mitigation policies. The use of several models provides a source of heterogeneity in terms of incorporating uncertain assumptions about future socioeconom...
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This paper assesses energy security in three long-term energy scenarios (business as usual development, a projection of Copenhagen commitments, and a 450 ppm stabilization scenario) as modeled in six integrated assessment models: GCAM, IMAGE, MESSAGE, ReMIND, TIAM-ECN and WITCH. We systematically evaluate long-term vulnerabilities of vital energy s...
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The levels of investment needed to mobilize an energy system transformation and mitigate climate change are not known with certainty. This paper aims to inform the ongoing dialogue and in so doing to guide public policy and strategic corporate decision making. Within the framework of the LIMITS integrated assessment model comparison exercise, we an...
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This article investigates possible evolution pathways for the transport sector during the 21st century, globally and in Europe, under a climate change control scenario. We attempt to shed light on the question how the transport sector should best be decarbonized. We perform our study with the global bottom-up energy systems model TIAM-ECN, a versio...
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Based on employment factors derived from a recent review of publications investigating opportunities for work associated with the diffusion of renewable energy technology, we here present an analysis of the potential for renewable energy jobs in the Middle East. We use energy system optimisation results from the regionally disaggregated TIAM-ECN mo...
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This article presents an updated overview of recent literature on the role of nuclear power in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from electricity generation. Emission intensities are strongly dependent on the country of operation and type of technology used in each category of power production options, but robust...
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CO(2) capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to develop into an important tool to address climate change. Given society's present reliance on fossil fuels, widespread adoption of CCS appears indispensable for meeting stringent climate targets. We argue that for conventional CCS to become a successful climate mitigation technology--which by nec...
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Offshore wind electricity generation is prospected to increase substantially in the near future at a number of locations, like in the Baltic, Irish and North Sea, and emerge at several others. The global growth of offshore wind technology is likely to be accompanied by reductions in wind park construction costs, both as a result of scaling and lear...
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The article describes how over the past two decades the role of US forward-deployed tactical nuclear weapons has gradually declined, and explains the logic behind their decreased importance. The main arguments in favor of the continuation of the process of their removal from Europe, until they have been entirely eliminated over the next couple of y...
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The construction of large pipeline infrastructures for CH4, CO2 and H2 transportation usually constitutes a major and time-consuming undertaking, because of safety and environmental issues, legal and (geo)political siting arguments, technically un-trivial installation processes, and/or high investment cost requirements. In this paper we focus on th...
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Climate change research with the economic methodology of cost–benefit analysis is challenging because of valuation and ethical issues associated with the long delays between CO2 emissions and much of their potential damages, typically of several centuries. The large uncertainties with which climate change impacts are known today and the possibly te...
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A major characteristic of our global interactive climate-energy system is the large uncertainty that exists with respect to both future environmental requirements and the means available for fulfilling these. Potentially, a key technology for leading the transition from the current fossil fuel-dominated energy system to a more sustainable one is ca...
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Offshore wind electricity generation is prospected to increase substantially in the near future at a number of locations, like in the North and Baltic Seas, and emerge at several others. The global growth of offshore wind technology is likely to be accompanied by reductions in wind park construction costs, both as a result of scaling and learning e...
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Gases like CH4, CO2 and H2 may play a key role in establishing a sustainable energy system: CH4 is the cleanest and least carbon-intensive among the fossil energy resources (that is, natural gas versus oil and coal); CO2 capture and storage can significantly reduce the climate footprint of especially fossil-based electricity generation; and the use...
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In this paper we analyze the relative importance and mutual behavior of two competing base-load electricity generation options that each are capable of contributing significantly to the abatement of global CO 2 emissions: nuclear energy and coal-based power production complemented with CO 2 capture and storage (CCS). We also investigate how, in sce...