Modelling the Water-energy-food Nexus

We are hosting and supervising PhD student Daniele Mosso for one year. Daniele Mosso is doing his PhD at Politecnico di Torino. He is focusing on developing tools to modelling the water-energy-food nexus. The objective is to answer the following question: To what extent can energy be produced without significantly harming natural resources and related sectors?

Daniele Mosso spent the initial period of his PhD examining the major factors affecting the sustainability of energy systems. He concluded that land use, or the consumption of natural resources, is a major issue.

Limitations of existing models

Meanwhile, the existing Energy System Optimization Models (ESOMs) have limitations concerning sustainability and environmental aspects. The limitations can be overcome in several ways. Based on his initial research, Daniele Mosso opted to develop a tool to represent the sectors of agriculture, forestry, and land use (AFOLU) in an ESOM. The tool should make it possible to account for land and water consumption and related emissions.

Subsequently, the research of Daniele Mosso is in line with a new research project Energy Modelling Lab launched recently. The aim is to develop a prototype module representing the AFOLU sector for the TIMES modelling framework. The TIMES model is an energy system optimization model.

Exploring a soft-linking methodology

Furthermore, Daniele Mosso plans to devote the last part of his PhD to exploring a soft-linking methodology. One possibility is direct coupling with an integrated assessment model (IAM) representing natural resources.

At Politecnico di Torino, Daniele Mosso is a member of the MAHTEP Group (Modeling of Advanced Heat Transfer and Energy Problems). It’s a research team established at the end of 2019.

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We will develop a prototype module representing the AFOLU sector for the TIMES modelling framework.

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We will test scenarios of the impacts of the energy consumption of the AFOLU sector.

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The research is part of a PhD to be finalized in 2026.

Institution: Politecnico di Torino, Professor Laura Savoldi

EML-team: Daniele Mosso, Ida Græsted Jensen

Duration: 2024-2025

Photo credit: Jacob Erle