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


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 
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 
Journal Articles
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.; 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.; 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