Multi-criteria decision analysis for sustainability assessment of energy technologies

Project description

Figure 1
Figure 1


The aim of the project is the application of methods of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to complement and further develop existing methodological approaches for sustainability assessment of energy technologies in different development stages. For this purpose, a decision support tool (DST) will be developed which takes into account different MCDA methods and can be applied to different energy technologies.

The development and application of MCDA methods enables an integrated, i.e., simultaneous consideration of economic, ecological, and social indicators in the context of sustainability assessment (of technical processes). This integrative multidimensional approach builds on and further develops research on disciplinary, one-dimensional assessment at ITAS. These include mathematical models and methods of analysis specific to the respective sustainability dimension, such as life cycle analysis, economic calculations, and results from different social science approaches.

The multi-criteria assessment approach allows, e.g., considering and revealing the preferences of different stakeholders in the evaluation process. In order to make the robustness and uncertainties of the results visible, the multi-criteria assessment will be coupled with sensitivity analyses. In this way, it is possible to examine the influence of the preferential weighting of selected input variables and the number of investigated technology options on the results.

The identification of factors influencing the decision-making process when using MCDA methods provides important information for advising decision makers in science, business, and politics. The development of a multi-criteria DST can thus make a significant contribution to TA. At the same time, a multitude of methodological challenges must be taken into account. These include, for example, the choice of the MCDA method, the identification of relevant criteria and stakeholders, and the presentation of the results.

The planned integration of the DST within the MCDA is shown in Figure 1. The multi-criteria DST for sustainability assessment and its applicability in participatory decision-making processes will be reflected upon with colleagues from transdisciplinary research and tested in a real-world lab with stakeholders and citizens. For this purpose, selected energy technologies that are being developed in the Helmholtz Research Association (e.g., bioliq® and different energy storage systems) will be used as case studies.

Work packages

The following listed work packages should not be regarded as sequential, but as iterative.

  1. Review of the state of the art
  2. Conception and development of DST
  3. Application of DST in use cases
  4. Test runs of DST in the real-world lab
  5. Evaluation of DST


Haase, M.; Andresh, M.; Patyk, A.; Rösch, C.
Sustainability Assessment of NET fuel production processes
2023. International Workshop NET@KIT: Negative Emissions Technologies at KIT: State and Perspectives (2023), Karlsruhe, Germany, March 23, 2023 Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Haase, M.; Mesa Estrada, L.; Wulf, C.; Baumann, M.; Müller, T.; Brand-Daniels, U.; Zeug, W.
Helmholtz activities in the field of MCDA-assisted sustainability assessment
2023. Helmholtz Energy Conference (2023), Koblenz, Germany, June 12–13, 2023 
Mesa Estrada, L.; Haase, M.; Müller, T.; Baumann, M.
Interactive decision support tool for sustainability assessment of energy technologies
2023. EWG MCDA 95 (2023), Jaén, Spain, April 13–15, 2023 
Mesa Estrada, L. S.; Haase, M.; Baumann, M.; Wulf, C.; Müller, T.; Ersoy, H.
Stakeholders integration for MCDA sustainability assessment of energy technologies: a use case in energy storage
2023, September 22. 96th Meeting of the EWG-MCDA (MCDA-96), Paris, 21st-23rd September 2023 (2023), Paris, France, September 21–23, 2023 
Wulf, C.; Haase, M.; Baumann, M.; Mesa Estrada, L.; Müller, T.
Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis Methods used for Sustainability Assessment
2023. 17th Society and Materials International Conference (SAM 2023), Karlsruhe, Germany, May 9–10, 2023 
Journal Articles
Mesa Estrada, L. S.; Haase, M.; Wulf, C.; Baumann, M.; Zeug, W.; Ball, C.; Bezama, A.; Brand-Daniels, U.; Buchgeister, J.; Heck, R.; Kopfmüller, R.; Müller, T.; Naegler, T.; Oswald, M.; Rudi, A.; Siekmann, F.
MCDA for sustainability assessment – insights to Helmholtz Association activities
2022. Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.7273635Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Baumann, M.
Overview: ELimination Et Choice Translating Reality - ELECTRE
2022. Workshop „MCDA for Sustainability Assessment of (Energy) Technologies and Systems“ (2022), Fulda, Germany, July 11–12, 2022 
Gapp-Schmeling, K.; Haase, M.; Rösch, C.; Schüwer, D.; Püttner, A.
Multikriterielle Nachhaltigkeitsbewertung für kommunale Wärmetransformationskonzepte
2022. FVEE-Jahrestagung "Forschung für die Wärmewende" (2022), Berlin, Germany, October 12–13, 2022 
Mesa Estrada, L. S.; Haase, M.; Baumann, M.
How can existing (licence-free) MCDA-based software support sustainability assessment? – A literature review
2022. 26th International Conference on Multiple Criteria Decision Making (2022), Portsmouth, United Kingdom, June 26–July 1, 2022 
Book Chapters
Haase, M.; Baumann, M.; Wulf, C.; Rösch, C.; Zapp, P.
Multikriterielle Analysen zur Entscheidungsunterstützung in der Technikfolgenabschätzung
2021. Technikfolgenabschätzung. Hrsg.: S. Böschen, 306–320, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. doi:10.5771/9783748901990-306
Conference Papers
Haase, M.; Wulf, C.; Baumann, M.; Harzendorf, F.; Ersoy, H.; Koj, J. C.; Rösch, C.
Comparative sustainability assessment of alternative technologies and fuels for individual motorized mobility
2021. Proceedings of the 16th Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, Dubrovnik, Kroatien, 10.-15.10.2021 
Baumann, M.; Peters, J.; Ersoy, H.; Weil, M.; Fournier, G.; Moniz, A.; Martins, N. C.
Decision making support for the selection of stationary batteries
2021. Energy Transition and Sustainability Conference (APEEN 2021), Online, January 20–21, 2021 
Haase, M.; Wulf, C.; Baumann, M.; Rösch, C.
Comparative sustainability assessment of alternative technologies and fuels for individual motorized mobility
2021. Workshop "Prospective Multidimensional Assessment of Energy Technologies and Scenarios" (ProMETS 2021), Online, February 25–26, 2021 
Baumann, M.; Peters, J.; Weil, M.; Ersoy, H.
Supporting decision making towards increasing the sustainability of battery storage
2020. Workshop: Maximizing the Environmental Utility of Battery Storage: Building a Life Cycle Assessment Framework Session 2: Current Approaches to Decision-Making Agenda, University of California (2020), Los Angeles, CA, USA, October 23, 2020 
Baumann, M.; Peters, J. F.; Weil, M.; Ersoy, H.
MCDA of Stationary battery storage systems
2020. Abschlusskonferenz - Ergebnispräsentation Helmholtz Initiative Energie System (Energie System 2050 2020), Berlin, Germany, September 30, 2020 
Baumann, M.; Weil, M.; Peters, J.; Haase, M.
How to store my energy? Challenges and potentials using MCDA for decision support in the field of energy storage
2020. Operational Research Seminar Centro de Matemática e Aplicações (2020), Online, December 18, 2020 


Dr. Manuel Baumann
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-23215

Dr. Martina Haase
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26094