Foreseer

  For more information, and to try the Foreseer tool, please see the Foreseer website

The Foreseer project at the University of Cambridge is developing an online tool to visualise the influence of future demand and policy choices on the coupled physical requirements for energy, water and land resources in regions of interest. The basis of the tool is a set of linked physical descriptions of energy, water and land, plus the technologies that transform those resources into final services – e.g. housing, food, transport, goods, and ecosystem services. The Foreseer tool has a modular structure, with the potential to incorporate specialised analyses or models to calculate future demand, climate change, technological change, or other effects of relevance to the user. The tool shows resource shortages and other indicators of stress (e.g., water shortages or carbon emissions) which serve as scenario health checks, and these will expand over time to match the needs of users.

The Foreseer tool allows visualisation of linked resource futures by drawing a set of Sankey diagrams for energy, water and land, showing the flow from basic resource (e.g. coal, surface water, and forested land) through transformations (e.g. fuel refining and desalination) to final services (e.g. sustenance, hygiene and transportation).

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Screenshot of the Foreseer tool

The Foreseer tool currently focuses on energy, water and land use in California because of the abundance of data available. This prototype has allowed the development of the relevant tools to convert between global and regional data. The Foreseer tool is structured to allow future extension to other regions, spatial and temporal scales, and resources.

The project, funded by BP, is led by Dr. Julian Allwood in the Engineering Department, with the extended co-investigator team spanning 7 departments.  It is part of the larger BP Energy Sustainability Challenge, which comprises 12 universities from across the globe working on related projects.

Please contact us (enquiries@foreseer.group.cam.ac.uk) for further information.

Investigators

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Julian Allwood (Department of Engineering)

Co-Investigators:

Dr. John Dennis (Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology)

Dr. Richard Fenner (Department of Engineering)

Professor Chris Gilligan (Department of Plant Sciences)

Professor Paul Linden (Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics)

Dr. Richard McMahon (Department of Engineering)

Professor John Pyle (Department of Chemistry)

Professor Danny Ralph (Judge Business School)

Professor Keith Richards (Department of Geography)