What motivated you to do this project?

Bangladesh is one of the countries which are impacted the most because of the rapid climate change. It is a country where 20% of the country will go underwater if it rises 1 meter higher than now, causing to displace 30 million people – the so-called climate refugees. Some researchers projected that if the sea level increases by 2 meters by 2100, there will be more than 50 million climate refugees. The only way to mitigate this rapid climate change is to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Being a Bangladeshi, I have played a proactive role in minimising the emission using the state-of-the-art sciences. After developing a profound academic background as a renewable energy expert, I decided to work with the front runners of the ‘energy transition revolution’ in Europe. In the ENSYSTRA project, I have been using the state of the art tools and techniques to develop energy models with zero-carbon emissions to shape a sustainable future for the World.

What is your research focusing on?

Sector coupling is one of the emerging topics in recent energy and climate change policy discussions, aiming to integrate mainly electricity, heat, and transport sectors in the energy system. In my research project, I am developing sector coupled models where I include dispatchable loads such as heat pumps and electric vehicles to explore the flexibility options. In the first phase, I aimed at providing a comprehensive understanding of sector coupling and its incorporation in energy system models [1]. Then, I developed a 100% renewable and sector-coupled (electricity and heat) open energy model to analyse the investment costs, grid expansion, and storage usage options for Germany to achieve complete carbon-neutrality by 2050 [2]. Currently, I am investigating different flexibility options on a broader scale (e.g., Norwegian hydro storage) for the sector-coupled North Sea energy system.

What has amazed you in your research so far?

An exciting outcome from my research to date revealed that a 100% renewable energy system for the electricity and building heat sector in Germany is plausible by 2050 and can be achieved using the country’s resources. It is a new revelation since the previous studies of such systems solely focused on either a particular sector or only a part of the building heat sector. Besides, I also found out that storage expansion and optimum grid extension between Northern and Southern Germany can maximise flexibility and decrease the overall investment cost [2].

By ESR Md Nasimul Islam Maruf – email: ni.maruf@uni-flensburg.de

How will your secondments benefit your research?

I had a fantastic experience at TNO (The Netherlands) and the Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden). I collaborated with the energy experts from TNO and VTT (Finland) and reviewed the mathematical models for the power-to-heat technologies. In Chalmers, I collaborated with another ESR to investigate how the sector coupling and nuclear power policies affect Norwegian hydropower’s potential flexibility and the corresponding system cost. During both these secondments, I received adequate guidance and supervision, and I networked with different people who see the energy system from different perspectives.

How would you like to continue your research after the ENSYSTRA project?

After my PhD, I plan to start working as a member of an interdisciplinary research and development team, who are working to answer research questions related to the design and analysis of renewable-based and highly efficient energy systems. The research topics may include but are not limited to interactions between different renewable energy sources, the integration of various energy storage technologies and dispatchable system loads, techno-economic analysis of energy systems, investigation of market mechanisms, etc. As part of the team, I also want to help my team write and acquire grant proposals to secure energy research funds.

What exciting developments do you want to reach in the near future?

In the near future, I want to see myself in a research team’s leading position with in-depth knowledge of successfully designing, developing, running, and accomplishing energy transition-related projects. Besides, I also plan to use my knowledge and expertise to cooperate with the government of my own country – Bangladesh, to design and establish similar renewable-focuses projects.


  1. Maruf, M.N.I., Sector Coupling in the North Sea Region—A Review on the Energy System Modelling Perspective. Energies 2019, 12, 4298. https://doi.org/10.3390/en12224298
  2. Maruf, M.N.I., Modeling and Analysis of 100% Renewable Sector-Coupled Energy System for Germany, Preprint available at https://www.enerarxiv.org/page/thesis.html?id=2455

If you have any questions of queries, please direct them to the author Maruf Nasimul Islam or the ENSYSTRA Project Manager Dirk Kuiken or Deborah Groeneweg.

If you are interested in the specifics of the 15 research projects, you can find summaries and video explanations from the researchers here.

Our project is supported by 23 industry partner institutions.

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