City Energy Analyst (CEA)

Research Topics

The City Energy Analyst (CEA) is built as an R&D project. We scout new research paradigms and use the CEA as a framework to account for complex interactions taking place between the city, its underlying energy infrastructure and the environment.

To this end, we regularly host master students and researchers in our labs in Singapore and Zurich aiming to use CEA to solve a new research problem. If you are interested in joining us for a period of up to 6 months and using the CEA as part of your research. Please check the current list of research topics of our interest, or alternatively send us your ideas for a potential stay. We remain completely open to new ideas!


  • Latent heat modeling in district energy systems OPEN!
  • Life cycle assessment of multi-scale energy systems OPEN!
  • Sensitivity Analysis of Solar Irradiance in Urban Areas. CLOSED!
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Latent heat modeling in district energy systems

In hot and humid tropical climates latent cooling loads are responsible for a significant share of building energy demand. In order to assess the performance of different HVAC systems at the district scale, an accurate forecasting of latent loads in buildings is necessary. The goal of this thesis is to build a model for moisture transfer in buildings, which is similar to the existing Resistance-Capacitance (RC) model for heat transfer (ISO 13790-2008) used for space sensible heating and cooling load calculation. However, in hot and humid climate, accurate description of moisture transfer by transmission is crucial for latent cooling load calculation. Therefore, an accurate dynamic moisture transfer model in buildings is the foundation to study cooling energy supply systems in the hot and humid climates. This thesis work involves: – Researching on existing models and standard calculation procedures of moisture transfer and storage in buildings. – Coding a suitable model accounting for moisture transfer through transmission, ventilation and internal gains in buildings. – Calibrating the model with real-time measured data from an office building in Singapore. The by-product of such analysis will be a new library for the CEA. Requirements • Knowledge of building physics and building energy performance modeling and simulation • Coding skills (in Python) are a plus. Willingness to learn these tools is expected. This Master thesis can be developed in Singapore or Zurich. A minimum stay of 3 months in Singapore will be necessary.


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Life Cycle Assessment of Multi-scale Energy Systems

For the multi-objective optimization of district energy supply systems and the evaluation of building retrofit strategies, data on economic and ecological impacts of the diverse options are a crucial input. This data is usually context-specific. For the European context life cycle assessment (LCA) data, such as embodied primary energy and embodied green house gas emissions for typical building constructions, and emissions and primary energy of a range of energy conversion systems are implemented. The same data has to be researched and implemented for the Singapore context. The tasks include a literature study about available life cycle data and data sources for the Singapore or (South East) Asian context. If need be, missing processes have to be modeled in an LCA tool. Requirements • Knowledge of LCA and respective tools is desired • Knowledge of Energy Systems modeling is useful, but not necessary • Coding skills (in Python) are a plus. Willingness to learn these tools is expected. This Master thesis can be developed in Singapore or Zurich. A minimum stay of 3 months in Singapore will be necessary. We are looking for motivated students to support our research. Please send a copy of previous project work (BSc, etc.) with your application.


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Sensitivity Analysis of Solar Irradiance in Urban Areas 

Paul Neitzel
Msc. Integrated Building Systems – ETH Zurich

Solar irradiance is a parameter that influences the demand and supply options of energy in urban areas.  It highly affects the needs for heating, cooling, and solar generation capabilities of buildings. Solar irradiance simulation models need to go under a calibration process in order to produce reliable predictions. A first step of this calibration process is to get knowledge on first and secondary effects of input parameters into forecasts of energy demand and generation.

This research analyzed the effect of input parameters of solar irradiance calculation on the energy demand and photovoltaic (PV) potential of urban areas. Furthermore, this research introduced an advanced radiation model for the City Energy Analyst based on DAYSIM software. 


 Yearly PV potential totals per building in percentage difference from start scenario with zero reflectivity. The grey bars define the reflectivity values for each scenario.

 Sensitivity indices of DAYSIM parameters for all output variables and each individual building of LoD2. The color of the building footprint corresponds to absolute values of EEs mean per building. Similar color implies similar sensitivity. Absolute sensitivity values can only be compared for the same output variable and building.


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Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Centre for Energy Economics Research Onderdeel van Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Centre for Energy Economics Research

Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde
Centre for Energy Economics Research Education

Writing a Thesis on an energy-related topic

Below you will find helpful information on previous bachelor, master thesis topics and additional external energy data sources:

Previous thesis topics:

Electricity market

  • The relationship between reservoir levels and Nordic electricity spot price

  • The effect of wind and solar energy on the Dutch imbalance market

  • Improvement of competition in the Dutch electricity market, a second function of renewable energy sources?

  • The Comparison Between Fossil Energy and Renewable Energy in Norway

  • To what extent do spot and forward natural gas and coal prices explain the month-ahead forward electricity price in the PHELIX market?

  • The effect of expected German renewable feed-in on the Dutch day-ahead electricity price

  • What is the impact of the German nuclear power phase-out on net energy imports?

Environmental policy

  • The waterbed effect: interaction of renewable energy policies with the European Union Emissions Trading System

  • The green paradox of climate policy: investigating shareholder value in the oil and gas industry

  • Low carbon prices in the EU Emission Trading System: Caused by the market design or external factors?

  • Cost-effectiveness of Renewable Energy Support Schemes – A Panel Data Analysis on Germany


  • A real options analysis of investment in carbon capture and storage
  • The interaction of real options investments and asymmetric information
  • The relation between electricity prices and stock prices of alternative energy companies

Gas Market

  • What drives natural gas prices at European hubs

  • Impact of natural gas storage on natural gas prices

  • The effect of shale gas production on the gas price in the United States


  • Impact of Renewable Energy on Economic Growth: A Comparison between Germany and the Netherlands
  • The impact of the Energiewende on employment in the German energy sector

  • Environmental Kuznets Curve for OECD countries

Strategic Innovation Management

  • Marketing / product / process / service innovation in the energy industry
  • Open and closed innovation in the energy industry and their effects on performance / price / competition / innovation
  • Mergers and acquisitions in the energy industry and their effects on performance / price / competition / innovation
  • Strategy alliances in the energy industry and their effects on performance / price / competition / innovation
  • Public policy decisions in the energy industry and their effects on performance / price / competition / innovation
  • The adoption and diffusion of new technologies; new business models in energy

Small Business & Entrepreneurship

  • New ventures in the energy industry: corporate ventures and/or independent ventures
  • Corporate entrepreneurship in the energy industry (this may include corporate venturing, but also innovation and strategic renewal)
  • Financing of entrepreneurial initiatives in the energy industry
  • Policies to promote entrepreneurial initiatives in the energy industry (more from a macro perspective)
  • Cooperation among large and small firms in the energy industry

External data sources:

  • A lot of information on renewable energy, in particular in Germany can be found at the website of Frauenhofer Institute .

  • See for references to data on electricity prices, production of renewables in Germany, weather conditions, etc.: Mulder and Scholtens (2013) .

  • Check out the website of CBS for data on characteristics of Dutch energy production, demand, etc.

  • Have a look at the
    website of IEA with a lot of information on energy in OECD countries.

  • The same goes for the website of European Commission and the

    website of European regulator of energy markets (ACER)


  • For weather data, see the website of NASA:

Additional sources:


World Bank

Laatst gewijzigd:18 mei 2018 15:57
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