Sustainable Energy Transitions and Engineering Systems

My interest in Energy Transitions Research is to facilitate a world where fossil fuel use becomes history.

By applying complex systems analysis on the energy metabolism of our societies and paying attention on the bio-physical aspects as much as the economic ones I hope to do my part in facilitating this significant transformation.

As Engineering Systems researchers we have to walk the tight-rope of being specialized generalists. Yet they are fortunate as problems that impact complex, socio-technical systems are by necessity interdisciplinary and by trait exciting. In addition to a good grasp of system analysis tools, they require of the researcher an understanding of physical system properties, a handle of the inherent uncertainties surrounding social systems be it governments, organizations or networks and their associated technologies, and an ability to collaborate with experts in the pertinent fields and tie the strands together successfully.

Sustainability, the ability of organizations and societies to operate and prosper under resource constraints, is the ultimate systems problem. Sustainable transitions are impeded by the inertia of social systems that evolved in an era of abundance. Counteracting this inertia requires effort on three levels:

    1. the technology/need interface where available solutions are assessed, developed and applied as close as possible to their optimal performance,

    2. the policy/need interface where large scale incentives are evaluated for affecting the adoption of solutions and satisficing sustainability criteria, and

    3. the continuous education of social system stakeholders to value and pursue sustainability objectives on individual, organizational, national and supranational settings.

This space maps my explorations of socio-technical systems and efforts to improve their sustainability.

Sgouris P. Sgouridis