Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The Report of the U.N. Brundtland Commission, Our Common Future, 1987

"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives"

Abba Eban

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller, philosopher, futurist and global thinker (1895 - 1983)


Invited lectures

The role of research and innovation in the European plans for the clean energy transition and an effective strategic autonomy

The lecture describes the most relevant European Union policies, programmes and initiatives focused on research and innovation, as the basis of the plans for a green and digital transition. The Union has set ambitious goals to reach in the next years aiming to achieve an effective transformation of the society and the economy. The lecture will start with a brief overview of the European policies to ensure an effective and inclusive green transition (namely the green Deal and the Fit455 Package, with particular reference to the revision of the energy efficiency and the renewable energy sources directives). The second part will focus on the role of the clean and affordable technologies to reach the targets set for 2030 and beyond, touching upon the centrality of Horizon Europe instruments to support industrial decarbonisation and the reduction of the societal carbon footprint. Particular reference will be made to the efforts to integrate the knowledge triangle across the European single market (in particular through the renewed plans to build a European Research, Education and Innovation Area) and to the role that the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the Joint Undertakings can play in this regard. The final part of the lecture will be dedicated the recent initiatives taken by the Commission towards ensuring a strategic autonomy in key supply chains and in the energy landscape, with specific reference to the new industrial strategy, the European Innovation Area and RePowerEU.

Prof. Maria da Graça Carvalho
Instituto Superior Técnico
Lisbon, Portugal

Maria da Graça Carvalho is currently member of the European Parliament (2019-2024). In the European Parliament she is a full Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and a substitute Member on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and substitute member on Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). She follows as well the parliamentary Delegations for relations with the United States, for relations with the countries of Central America and Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly. In the past, Maria da Graça Carvalho has also served as member of the European Parliament in the EPP group from 2009-2014. She sat on the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee as a full member and was a substitute member of the Committee on Budgets. In the Budget Committee, she acted during the 5 years as permanent EPP shadow rapporteur for the science and innovation budget and as rapporteur for the space budget. As a MEP, she was appointed rapporteur of the Specific Programme Implementing HORIZON 2020 and of the report on Simplification of the Rules of Participation in the European Programs for Research and Innovation. In 2011, she was awarded the Prize for the best MEP in the area of Research and Innovation. Maria da Graça Carvalho has been a Member of the Scientific Advice Mechanism Unit of the Directorate-General Research and Innovation of the European Commission from 2016 until 2019. She was a senior advisor of Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation from November 2014 to December 2015. She was Principal Adviser of President of the European Commission in the areas of Science, Innovation, Energy, Environment and Climate Change from 2006 to 2009. She was Minister of Science and Higher Education of the XV Constitutional Government and Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education of the XVI Constitutional Government of Portugal. She is a Full Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico (University of Lisbon) and she has acquired 30 years of experience in research in the areas of energy, climate change and science, technology and innovation policy. She has published 130 articles in international scientific journals and more than 300 articles in books and conference proceedings. She is, herself, the author of two books and the editor of 17 books and special editions of international scientific journals in the field of energy. She is a member of 22 scientific associations and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) and has been a Deputy President of the Portuguese Institute of Engineers and remains a fellow of the Portuguese Institute of Engineers, of the Portuguese Academy of Science, of the Royal Academy of Engineers of Spain, a founder of the Portuguese Academy of Engineers and an Honorary Member of Academy Europaea. She has been an active collaborator of EASAC-European Academies Science Advisory Council and the Euro CASE-European Council of Applied Sciences Technologies and Engineering since the outset. She has been awarded the title of “Great Official of the Order of Public Instruction” by the President of Republic of Portugal and she was honoured with the “Great Cross of the International Order of Merit of the Discoverer of Brazil”. She is member of the Chancellery of the Orders of Merit of the Portuguese Republic.

Smart Renewable Energy Systems and Decarbonization

This presentation focusses on how societies can design and implement renewable energy and decarbonization strategies. The presentation presents and discuss a set of methods and criteria to design Smart Energy Systems, while considering the context of 100% renewable energy on a national level. Countries should handle locally what concerns local demands, and at the same time acknowledge the international context when discussing resources and industrial and transport demands. To illustrate the method, it is applied to the cases of Denmark and European within the context of a global fully decarbonized energy system.

Recently, the Danish Government supported by the Danish Parliament decided for the target of a 70% decrease in Greenhouse gasses by 2030. This presentation includes a list of theoretical and methodological considerations as well as a concrete proposal on how such targets can be implemented. It is highlighted that already now one must think beyond 2030 to prepare for the next step to achieve a full decarbonization by 2040 or 2050. It is also highlighted that a country such as Denmark must consider how to include its share of international shipping and aviation as well as how to design a solution with Denmark’s share of sustainable biomass resources.

Moreover, the presentation includes the results of detailed hourly modelling of the EU “A Clean Planet” scenarios for a fully decarbonized Europe in 2050 and compare it to a “smart energy systems” alternative. The case illustrates how the focus on a fully sector-coupling as expressed in a smart energy systems approach will lead to higher energy efficiency and the identification of a more affordable green transition in Europe.

Prof. Henrik Lund
Aalborg University
Aalborg, Denmark

Henrik Lund (born 2 July 1960) is a Danish engineer (M.Sc.Eng.1985) and Professor in Energy Planning at Aalborg University in Denmark. He holds a Ph.D. in Implementation of Sustainable Energy Systems (1990), and a Dr. Techn. in Choice Awareness and Renewable Energy Systems (2009). Henrik Lund is a highly ranked world-leading researcher. He is listed among ISI Highly Cited researchers ranking him among the top 1% researchers in the world within engineering and on the Stanford list of top 2% scientists. Henrik Lund has many years of management experience as head of department for approx. 200 staff persons (1996-2002), head of section for approx. 50 persons (2014 – 2016) and head of research group of 20-30 persons (2002 – present). During his time the Sustainable Energy Planning research group at Aalborg University has now grown to approx. 30 staff members including 4 professors. Henrik Lund is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s high-impact journal Energy with annual 10000+ submissions. Henrik Lund is the author of more than 400 books and articles including the book ''Renewable Energy Systems”. He is the architect behind the advanced energy system analysis software EnergyPLAN, which is a freeware used worldwide that have form the basis of more than 200 peer reviewed journal papers around the world.

Modelling and Design of Smart Resilient Net-zero Solar Buildings and Communities

The presentation will focus first on systematic modelling and design of advanced solar buildings and communities that are optimized to capture solar energy through building-integrated solar systems for simultaneous production of electricity and useful heat, optimally designed windows for capturing passive solar heat gains and daylight, and efficient building-integrated energy storage systems.  In addition, production of solar electricity from buildings for electric vehicles (EVs) for local transportation is presented under different scenarios.  Such a design, together with optimal operation strategies applied to a community, can result in a net-zero energy community, considering both energy consumption by buildings and local transportation. A key challenge is to achieve a dynamic optimal integration with a smart grid with dynamic pricing schemes for electricity. Different scenarios are presented for utilizing the energy storage in buildings and EVs, as well as possible centralized energy storage, to be able to operate a community in self-sustaining islanded mode during emergencies, while supporting the grid and optimizing benefits for the community during normal operation.  Results from Canadian high performance demonstration buildings are presented with emphasis on their optimal design, operation, and development of flexibility in their load profiles for grid interaction, particularly the Varennes Library, a smart solar net-zero energy institutional building completed in Canada in 2016 and currently being monitored and studied. Finally, recommendations for the design and development of carbon-neutral resilient communities in Canada are presented as part of a Canadian Academy of Engineering Roadmap chaired by Dr. Athienitis.

Dr. Andreas Athienitis
Concordia University
Montreal, Canada

Dr. Andreas K. Athienitis is a Professor of Building Engineering and Director of the Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies that he founded at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He obtained a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo (1985). He holds the NSERC/Hydro Québec Industrial Research Chair “Optimized Operation and Energy Efficiency: Towards High Performance Buildings” and a Concordia University Research Chair in Solar Energy. He is an internationally recognized researcher and leader in energy and buildings, smart net-zero energy solar buildings and solar systems - a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of ASHRAE and a Fellow of IBPSA. He founded and led as Principal Investigator two Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) strategic research networks on Smart Solar and Net-zero Energy Buildings (2005 – 2017) that included about 30 Canadian researchers from 15 universities and about 30 industrial and other partners. He has published over 300 refereed papers, including eight that received best paper awards, and several books. He played a leading role in the conception and realization of several award-winning innovative buildings such as Canada’s first net-zero energy institutional building - the Varennes Library and his own award-winning solar home. He served on the editorial boards of prestigious journals such as Solar Energy, Journal of Building Performance Simulation, and Energy and Buildings. He has supervised over 80 graduate students, including 22 at the PhD level, with 15 becoming professors in universities around the world. He currently chairs the Canadian Academy of Engineering Roadmap to Resilient, Ultra-Low Energy Built Environment with Deep Integration of Renewables.

Benchmarking the performance of cities across energy, water and environment systems
related metrics presents an opportunity to trigger policy learning, action, and cooperation to bring cities closer to sustainable development.