In addition to technological research and development, the CC4E also examines questions to do with the environmental impacts, societal acceptance and transformation processes accompanying the energy transition. The CC4E aims to understand the increasing complexity of the challenges of the energy transition as a societal issue, and to develop approaches that are both economically feasible and socially sustainable. This area of the CC4E's work is characterised by a high level of interdisciplinarity. The broad range of expertise facilitates ecological, social science, didactic and economic perspectives on current questions related to the energy transition.
For example, the environmental and social research at the Curslack Research Wind Farm is investigating the potential impacts of wind turbines on nearby residents and the environment. Among other things, the risk of collisions between bats and wind turbines is currently being studied with the help of technical detection systems. The impact of demand-driven night identification on the acceptance of wind energy is also be investigated. The lighting of the wind turbines required for aviation security is reduced by more than 90 per cent through the use of a technical system. Whether this leads to a significant increase in acceptance among nearby residents and what the technological process of implementing the technology looks like are among the social science research questions being studied at CC4E.
The economic focus of the CC4E's research is new market and business models. The foremost question here is which structures and regulations need to be in place in order for the technical innovations developed to be implemented in the market. In concrete terms this involves the identification of application areas for hydrogen technology that are suited to the overall economy, as well as the provision of academic support to partners active in the fields of production, mobility and industry with the actual implementation of these technologies. Work is also being undertaken on ESG due diligence. ESG refers to criteria for environmental, social and responsible governance. The goal is to develop an instrument for assessing companies on the basis of sustainability criteria that is based on current EU requirements (e.g. the taxonomy of environmentally sustainable economic activities). This type of tool will be critical for the evaluation of companies and investment decisions in future.
Another focus is the accompaniment of technological projects with the investigation of socio-economic questions. The emphasis of the research here is how the industrial use and with it the launching of sector-coupling technologies in the market can be accelerated through the incorporation of all the relevant stakeholders.
As part of the university, the CC4E also goes beyond classical teaching and works in the area of professional development and qualification. This involves the development of needs-based teaching offers (both online and in person) and suitable learning platforms for the broader society and professionals in the sector.
The research projects at CC4E are always accompanied by corresponding communication about the specific projects and the results. The goal is to facilitate intensive exchange – in the service of participation and interdisciplinarity – with citizens and societal representatives about future changes to the energy supply system. In addition to the communication of relevant knowledge and information, this also involves the identification of interests and positions as well as joint dialogue on future activities. This is intended to increase acceptance and support for sustainability and the energy transition in individuals' personal spheres.