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REFUEL is a 5 year research project, funded by the European Research Council with a Starting Grant. The main research objective in the project is the assessment of the role of trade in a future renewable energy world.
Recent global integrated modelling studies indicate low intensities in trade of energy commodities between global regions in a future low-carbon global energy system. Also, research based on modelling indicates that deep greenhouse-gas emission cuts are possible in fully electrified renewable energy systems on a continental or country scale from a techno-economic perspective.
an alternative scenario
However, these modelling efforts partly neglect drivers of globalization and may therefore wrongly project regionalization of energy systems. In particular, (i) new, easily tradable, low-cost renewable fuels (e.g. solar & electric fuels), (ii) global bio-physical variability of renewables (e.g. solar radiation and freshwater availability), and (iii) regional differences in social land-use restrictions associated with the expansion of energy infrastructure can cause an increase of trade flows in the energy sector.