KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)

Project Decentralised Energy Transition - Socio-cultural and Narrative Perspectives on the Obstacles and Chances of Innovative Energy Storage (Habilitation)

The habilitation project will be conducted at the Justus-Liebig-University Gießen.

Prof. Dr. Patrizia Nanz will be the contentual supervisor at the KWI.

This cumulative habilitation deals with obstacles and blockades that hinder a success of a decentralised energy transition. Innovative energy storages, for decentralised storage processes on regional or local level, are one of the key elements for such an energy transition and will serve as a case study in this thesis.

In contrast to most other publication, this thesis analyses social, cultural, participative and narrative aspects of this inventions. Thereby, it follows a scientific trend of interconnecting technical and social sciences in rather technologically minded research areas.

The articles of this cumulative habilitation are divided into three foci: (1) Challenges and framing conditions; (2) Innovative energy storages – Gravity Power; (3) Energy geographies.

Research Questions:

  • How does a decentralised energy transition succeed?
  • Which socio-cultural, participative and narrative dimensions frame innovative energy storage technologies?
  • What options does Gravity Power technology provide?
  • Is Gravity Power a significant element of a decentralised energy transition? Geographical perspectives on new energy storage technologies.


  • Energy, climate and hunger as global challenges
  • Energy transition and metaphors
  • Energy storages and narratives
  • Challenges and Chances of Public Participation in Technology: the Case of Energy Storage
  • Socio-cultural dimensions of innovative energy storage technologies
  • Gravity Power and energy geographies
  • Gravity Power in NRW – Future of energy storage for the industrial state No. 1