On May 07, 2021, Prof. Tom Brown was unanimously appointed Principal Investigator (PI) by the Board of the Einstein Center Digital Future.
Tom Brown has been head of the department "Digital Transformation in Energy Systems" (EnSys) at TU Berlin since April 2021. The field is part of the Institute of Energy Technology and is dedicated to the complex interactions between technology, politics, society and energy markets. The field combines two of the greatest societal challenges of our time: digitalization and the climate crisis. "Without an energy transition, the sustainable digitalization of our society cannot succeed, and without digitalization, the coordination of fluctuating renewable energy sources or millions of electric cars and heat pumps is hardly imaginable. My research has been interdisciplinary for many years. I'm pleased that I can now contribute my experience as a PI in the ECDF," Brown explains.
At the department, Brown and his team model the coordination between generation, flexibility, infrastructure such as electricity and gas grids with a high level of detail, so that the course for the energy transition is set in a direction that is not only optimal from a techno-economic perspective, but also enjoys the approval of industry, politics and civil society. Using open-source software and open data models, we will show how to bring together techno-economic questions about the design of our energy systems with broader questions about societal acceptance of large-scale infrastructure. "How do we balance a lack of consent for onshore wind with the higher costs and technical challenges of offshore wind? How do we coordinate storage and load management when grid expansion is slow?" said Brown of specific research questions.
Brown studied at the University of Cambridge and Queen Mary University London, where he earned his doctorate in theoretical physics. Before his appointment at the TU Berlin, he was, among other things, a research group leader for energy system modeling at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).