Techno-economic and socio-economic modelling of energy in road transport to inform climate policy

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Mulholland, Eamonn
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University College Cork
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The release of increasing amounts of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and the corresponding global temperature rise has prompted a growing political consensus on a decarbonised future to prevent any sustained economic or environmental harm. Many countries are using modelling tools to develop strategies and policy measures to deliver timely and effective reductions of harmful greenhouse gas emissions across all energy related sectors. Techno-economic models have a track record in developing low carbon pathways from a technical standpoint, though they have generally failed to adequately account for the underlying socio-economic behaviour which drives consumers in their choices. This thesis highlights and addresses this failing in two parts with a focus on road transport, one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise. The first part of this thesis reviews the functionality of techno-economic road transportation models and identifies the limitations associated with their operation. The thesis expands upon the International Energy Agency’s global techno-economic simulation transport model, MoMo, with a focus on the freight sector. Next, a national focus is provided, building and applying a simulation techno-economic model of Ireland’s light commercial vehicle stock. This is soft-linked with an optimisation model of the Irish energy system, Irish TIMES. This multi-model methodology is then applied to Ireland’s private car sector, where the limitations of using techno-economic modelling techniques in isolation are identified. The second part of this thesis develops novel socio-economic approaches and integrates these with techno-economic models. A review of socio-economic modelling methods within transport models is performed, identifying the options available for integration with other models. These methods are then tested on the Irish and Danish private car sector, where a consumer choice model is built and integrated with a techno-economic simulation model. Finally, this integration is further coupled with a TIMES optimisation model, focusing on Denmark, which uses a time travel budget to further include behavioural realism into transport focused modelling. The contribution of this thesis is the improvements made to the modelling methods and more robust evidence base for developing sound low-carbon policy measures by integrating technoeconomic and socio-economic frameworks coupled with a combination of optimisation and simulation modelling methods within the road transportation sector.
Techno-economic , Socio-economic , Transportation , Policy , Energy modelling
Mulholland, E. 2017. Techno-economic and socio-economic modelling of energy in road transport to inform climate policy. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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