Energy Transition Podcast

Energy Transition Podcast

#22 The Future of Flow Batteries (with Brian Stead, CEO of Bryte Batteries)

Episode 22, May 12

#22 The Future of Flow Batteries (with Brian Stead, CEO of Bryte Batteries)

Bryte Batteries thinks unused, self-produced energy could be strategically stored and sold by utilizing cost-efficient and safe battery technologies. This creates business opportunities for building owners in most sectors, that are both profitable and environmentally friendly. 

This week's guest is the CEO of Bryte Batteries - an NTNU affiliated startup. Brian explains to us the principles behind flow batteries, the pros and cons compared to other battery technologies, and the potential he sees in them. Please go check them out at bryte.no or contact Brian over at his LinkedIn.


#21 Policies to support the deployment of renewable electricity technologies (with Dr. Pablo del Rio)

Episode 21, Apr 28

#21 Policies to support the deployment of renewable electricity technologies (with Dr. Pablo del Rio)

How can governments support renewable electricity technologies? What's being done, and what does the future look like? And why were these policies needed initially, to give such technologies traction? What's needed, if we are to reach Europe's ambitious goals for transitioning to renewable energy?

Today's guest is Dr. Pablo del Rio. He is the head of the Environmental Economics Group (GEA) at the Institute for Public Goods and Policies at the National Research Council of Spain (CSIC) and has spent more than 20 years looking particularly at the policies for renewable energy.


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About the Energy Transition Podcast

About the podcast

Listen to our talks with experts about challenges and solutions in the transition to sustainable energy systems. New episodes every other Thursday.

Gain knowledge that empowers both you and your organization to tackle society's move to carbon neutrality. Feel free to contact us at energytransition@ntnu.no.

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#18 Energy Transition in the Global South (with Jose Antonio Ordonez from Fraunhofer ISI)

Episode 18, Apr 7

#18 Energy Transition in the Global South (with Jose Antonio Ordonez from Fraunhofer ISI)

The global south, with countries such as Indonesia and India, relies heavily on coal and other fossil fuels. Many of these countries have not embarked on real decarbonization pathways. In this episode, we take a closer look at the barriers these countries face to supply the growing energy demand and do this in a sustainable way.

Today's guest, Jose Antonio Ordonez, is a researcher in the Fraunhofer ISI's Competence Center Energy Policy and Energy Markets where he works in the business unit Global Sustainable Energy Transitions. Over the last years he has conducted a large number of energy transition and decarbonization projects across a variety of countries in the global south and emerging economies dealing with supporting the integration of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate protection policies.


#17 Direct Air Capture and other CDR technologies (with Dr. Jay Fuhrmann)

Episode 17, Mar 31

#17 Direct Air Capture and other CDR technologies (with Dr. Jay Fuhrmann)

The CO2 is all around us, can't we just collect and store it safely? Today's guest is Jay Fuhrman. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Joint Global Change Research Institute. He received his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2021. Jay’s research uses integrated assessment models to understand the transitions required for deep climate mitigation, including the large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal technologies, their potential side-effects, and co-benefits.


#16 The Decarbonization of Steel & Refineries (with Dr. Frauke Urban)

Episode 16, Mar 24

#16 The Decarbonization of Steel & Refineries (with Dr. Frauke Urban)

Some of the biggest emitters also face the biggest challenges in the energy transition. I today's episode, we take a closer look at the potential solutions, with focus on the steel and refinery industries. Our guest today is Dr. Frauke Urban. She is an Associate Professor and Docent in the Management of Sustainable Energy Systems at the Department for Industrial Economics and Management at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and specializes in technology and business perspectives as part of the Research Initiative on Sustainable Industry and Society (IRIS).


#10 Electrifying everything? - Decarbonizing Transport in Europe (with Dr. Patrick Plötz)

Episode 10, Feb 10

#10 Electrifying everything? - Decarbonizing Transport in Europe (with Dr. Patrick Plötz)

Transport represents almost a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and is the main course of air pollution in cities. The transport sector has not seen the same gradual decline in emissions, as other sectors. Emissions just started decreasing in 2007 and still remain higher than in 1990. Hence, let's have a look at this sector to actually understand it a bit better and its current state.

For this episode, we're joined by the Coordinator of Business Unit Energy Economy at Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Priv.-Doz. Dr. Patrick Plötz. He has studied Physics in Greifswald, St. Petersburg and Göttingen and did his thesis in Theoretical Physics on correlated electrons in one-dimensional systems. He holds a Doctorate degree in Theoretical Physics from the University of Heidelberg (Institute for Theoretical Physics) on complex dynamics in cold atomic gases. Fom January to December 2011 he was a researcher in the Competence Center Energy Policy and Energy Systems at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, and since January 2012 in the Competence Center Energy Technology and Energy Systems. Since 2020 he's been the Coordinator of Business Unit Energy Economy, and a private lecturer at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).


#11 Rage Against the Taxonomy - Why and how the EU declares Nuclear and Natural gas as green technologies (with Kira Taylor from Euractive)

Episode 11, feb 17

#11 Rage Against the Taxonomy - Why and how the EU declares Nuclear and Natural gas as green technologies (with Kira Taylor from Euractive)

EU just unveiled that it plans to label investments in natural gas and nuclear projects as sustainable if certain criteria are met, a controversial move that raises concerns about greenwashing and divides member states. If a majority backs it, it will become EU law, coming into effect from 2023. The taxonomy - a labeling system that incentives investing in green solutions - is a part of the strategy to make the 2050 net-zero goal.

Kira Taylor (@KiraTaylor15), an energy and environment journalist for Euractive stationed in Brussels, is our guest in this episode. We talk about the taxonomy's effect and people's reactions. How does this labeling system work? What are the advantages of a taxonomy like this?

If you find this interesting, please consider registering for the workshop: "The Future of Nuclear Energy" at the upcoming NTNU Energy Transition Week 2022.

Sources referred to in this episode:

  1. The first climate delegated act

  2. Remarks by Commissioner McGuinness at the press conference on the EU Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act

  3. Kira's article: The Green Brief: An EU taxonomy fairytale


#07 The German Energy Transition (with Dr. Eva Schmidt)

Episode 7, Jan 20

#07 The German Energy Transition (with Dr. Eva Schmidt)

The German energy transition, commonly known as the 'Energiwende', is challenging many parts of German society. Until March 2011, one-quarter of Germany's electricity was obtained from nuclear energy, which is now due to be phased out in 2022. Coal-fired power generation is expected to diminish, as wind and solar receive generous financial support.

Whether Germany's efforts have been a success or a failure has been a popular debate in recent years. Luckily for us, we found the perfect person to ask for a status update. Dr. Eva Schmidt, Team Leader German and European Energy Policy in Germanwatch: a non-profit, non-governmental organization that actively engages in international political and economic discussions, met with Julius for a chat in Berlin.


The Norwegian Energy Transition (with Prof. Asgeir Tomasgard)

Episode 4, Dec 30

The Norwegian Energy Transition (with Prof. Asgeir Tomasgard)

Norway is Unique: It has abundant natural energy resources and a relatively small population. It’s electricity runs mainly on carbon free hydro energy, and it is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet. But most of its wealth comes from exporting fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil. While the Norwegian government aims to accelerate the low carbon energy transition, social resistance rises against new wind farms in order to preserve nature and the cultural heritage of the country.

To give an overview over these tricky topics I met with Asgeir Tomasgard. Asgeir is Professor at NTNU in the department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management. He is the director of the NTNU Energy Transition Initiative, and hence he is the one that gave my producer Martin and me the slack to start this podcast.


#19 Energy Efficiency First (with Jan Steinbach & Wolfgang Eichhammer)

Episode 19, Apr 14

#19 Energy Efficiency First (with Jan Steinbach & Wolfgang Eichhammer)

What if we treat energy efficiency as a source of energy in its own right? Investors could prioritize more cost-effective demand-side solutions instead of complex and costly energy sources and new infrastructure. Essentially reducing fossil fuels consumption and energy production while increasing independency and security of supply. Reduced energy demand could also control the level of investment needed for the transition toward renewables.

In this episode we invited Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Eichhammer and Dr. Jan Steinbach to discuss the "energy efficiency first principle"- a key element of EU policy on emissions reduction, which highlights energy efficiency's importance in planning and investment processes in the energy transition.


#13 Invasion of Ukraine - implication for energy policy in Europe (with Thijs van de Graf)

Episode 13, Mar 3

#13 Invasion of Ukraine - implication for energy policy in Europe (with Thijs van de Graf)

This episode comes out on day eight of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. War, destruction and death have been flickering across our TV and mobile screens in recent days. These actions in themselves are terrible, and we realize that this war is likely to turn the tide on European energy policy.

In this episode, I am joined by Thijs van de Graf from Ghent University. Thijs is Associate Professor of International Politics at Ghent University in Belgium. He shares insights into how dependent Europe is on Russian fossil fuels, and we discuss what kind of implications this geopolitical crisis may have on European energy policy.


#15 Offshore Wind Power (with John Olav Tande)

Episode 15, Mar 17

#15 Offshore Wind Power (with John Olav Tande)

Chief Scientist and Research Manager at SINTEF Energy, John Olav Giæver Tande is a pioneer in floating offshore wind energy and head the NorthWind research center - an 8 year, 31.5 million EUR research center working to make wind power cheaper, efficient, and more sustainable. The European Commission wants 1/3 of all electricity to 2050 supplied by offshore wind, making it the backbone of the entire energy supply in Europe.


#09 Just Transition (with Rita V. D'Oliveura Bouman)

Episode 9, Feb 3

#09 Just Transition (with Rita V. D'Oliveura Bouman)

How do we transition away from carbon-intensive industries while avoiding unemployment? How do we rebuild communities in a sustainable way after losing major job providers? How can marginalized groups get their opinion heard when their society must change?

Society faces huge changes in the energy transition. Technological solutions get most of the attention for reducing emissions and transitioning. However, research shows that these technology implementations have unforeseen consequences, like increasing inequality. To get everyone on board and working towards common goals, we need to make it fair. Just Transition explains how we can solve these issues. It's a framework that aims to ensure we take care of people affected by the transition towards a decarbonized society. This includes not only those with a voice, but also smaller groups without the resources to speak up.

This podcast episode was first published as a pilot episode in the spring of 2021. In this episode, Rita Vasconcellos Oliveira, a researcher in Fair and Sustainable Energy Transitions and the project manager of Energy Transitions Week 2022, gives us an introduction to Just Transition.


#06 Introduction to Sustainability Transitions Theory (with Prof. Tomas Skjølsvold)

Episode 6, Jan 13

#06 Introduction to Sustainability Transitions Theory (with Prof. Tomas Skjølsvold)

Technology alone can't magically solve all our challenges. It is highly intertwined with user practices, other technologies, business models, value chains, regulations and structures in organizations, institutions, and policy. Therefore, while radical innovation and its diffusion is necessary, socio-technical systems always undergo long term incremental changes. In light of this, understanding these transformations becomes vital when trying to accelerate an Energy Transition that depends on change to both existing and future technologies.

Giving us an introduction to how to understand these dynamics, Deputy Director for FME NTRANS, Professor Tomas M. Skjølsvold from NTNU's Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture (KULT) joins in this week's episode. He researches society-wide transformations and transitions, much in the field of Energy Systems, and how one can work to make such transitions as democratic, inclusive and responsible as possible. Underlying this is a concern for the way science, technology and society interacts, and how this tends to privilege certain voices and interests, while marginalizing others.

Link to articles mentioned in the episode: Technology Innovation System Analysis 1 & 2, Niche Destabilization 1 & 2.


Climate Agreements: COP26, lobbyism, and how it works from the inside (with Prof. Christina Voigt)

Episode 3, Dec 23

Climate Agreements: COP26, lobbyism, and how it works from the inside (with Prof. Christina Voigt)

In this episode, I talk to Prof. Christina Voigt. Christina is a Professor at the University of Oslo and has been a member of the climate negotiation delegation of Norway for years. 

The climate negotiation process occurring through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the primary forum for international cooperation on stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to prevent catastrophic anthropogenic interference with the climate system aka. climate change. 

In this episode, Christina explains how the climate negotiations processes were established in the 1990s and how it developed over time. Furthermore, you will get an overview of COP 26 in Glasgow and the results it yielded. At last, you will learn where the next COPs will take place and what topics will be negotiated.


#20 Transformation or Substitution? The diffusion of electric cars in Norway (with Prof. Marianne Ryghaug)

Episode 20, Apr 21

#20 Transformation or Substitution? The diffusion of electric cars in Norway (with Prof. Marianne Ryghaug)

Marianne Ryghaug holds a PhD in Political Science and is a Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She leads the Center for Energy, Climate and Environment at the Department of Interdisiplinay studies of Culture, NTNU. The last years her research has particularly been focused on research related to sociotechnical transitions in the areas of smart grids, smart homes and cities, electric vehicles, transportation and sustainable mobility.


#12 Why and How to Empower Youth in the Energy Transition

Episode 12, Feb 25

#12 Why and How to Empower Youth in the Energy Transition

The energy transition is the generational challenge of our time. It can not be solved by researchers in their ivory towers, nor policymakers in the country's capitals. Instead, we need all parts of society to engage and work towards a common goal. One group that is often overlooked, but that is key for the transformational processes that we are going through, is the youth. First, if today's youth is not empowered they won't be the ones who can do the heavy lifting in 5-10 years. Second, there is a lot of climate-positive projects that young gals and guys can do already today. To empower youth, a group of friends of mine founded Student Energy some 15 years ago in Calgary, Canada. Their mission is to empower young people to accelerate the sustainable energy transition through a variety of initiatives, including university-based Chapters, and the largest student-led energy conference in the world. In this podcast episode, I talk with another friend of mine Meredith Adler. Meredith is the executive director of Student Energy and helps build this wonderful organization. Go check it out.


#14 Wind Power in Europe (with Giles Dickson)

Episode 14, Mar 10

#14 Wind Power in Europe (with Giles Dickson)

This episode comes out on day eight of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. War, destruction and death have been flickering across our TV and mobile screens in recent days. These actions in themselves are terrible, and we realize that this war is likely to turn the tide on European energy policy.

In this episode, I am joined by Thijs van de Graf from Ghent University. Thijs is Associate Professor of International Politics at Ghent University in Belgium. He shares insights into how dependent Europe is on Russian fossil fuels, and we discuss what kind of implications this geopolitical crisis may have on European energy policy.


#08 The Rise of Solar PV (with Prof. Gregory Nemet)

Episode 8, Jan 27

#08 The Rise of Solar PV (with Prof. Gregory Nemet)

'Solar energy is a substantial global industry, one that has generated trade disputes among superpowers, threatened the solvency of large energy companies, and prompted serious reconsideration of electric utility regulation rooted in the 1930s. One of the biggest payoffs from solar’s success is not the clean inexpensive electricity it can produce, but the lessons it provides for innovation in other technologies needed to address climate change', says the description of UW-Madison professor Gregory F. Nemet's 2019 book: How Solar Energy Became Cheap.

Nemet is a former teacher of mine and was kind enough to guest in today's episode. We talk about different ways countries utilize PV's, and ask: How come this relatively old technology wasn't implementet in lager scale until recent years and what lessons can we take from this?


#05 Joe Biden's Infrastructure Bill and its influence on the Energy Transition (with Dr. Steven Gabriel)

Episode 5, Jan 6

#05 Joe Biden's Infrastructure Bill and its influence on the Energy Transition (with Dr. Steven Gabriel)

In late 2021, US President, Joe Biden signed a 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in law, a key part of his agenda for the US' future economy, but also climate change mitigation. At that same time, NTNU adjunct professor Steven Gabriel from the University of Maryland paid us a visit. So naturally, I sat down to chat with him about this bill and what it could mean for the American Energy Transition.


Why there is no doubt - and how we can fix it (with Prof. Kimberly Nicholas)

Episode 2, Dec 16

Why there is no doubt - and how we can fix it (with Prof. Kimberly Nicholas)

There is no doubt. Climate change is happening. And yes, the vast majority of researchers agree that it is us who cause it. But there is hope. We can fix this.

In this episode, I talk to Kimberly Nicholas, a climate scientist and professor at Lund University in Sweden. Kimberly was born and raised in California and has a PhD from Stanford University. Recently, during one of her keynote presentation in Bergen, I thought: 'I just have to have her on the podcast.'

In this episode you will learn why the climate is warming, why we are sure that it is us, that it is bad, but also how we can fix it.

Kimberly recently published a book about this very topic. It is called Under the Sky We Make. You can reach out to her on Twitter and LinkedIn, or through her newsletter.


Why this podcast (with host, Julius Wesche)

Episode 1, Dec 16

Why this podcast (with host, Julius Wesche)

In episode 1 we introduce you to the Podcast and what you learn from listenting to it.

The podcast is hosted by Julius Wesche. Julius is a researcher at the NTNU Energy Transition Initiative and the NTNU Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture. He also runs the enPower Podcast on the German Energy Transition and the scicomX Podcast on digital science communication. You can find him also on Twitter, LinkedIN, and Instagram