Analysis and modelling of the food-water-energy Nexus

Overview + Research Question

Urban regions face major challenges in the future supply of food, water and energy. The IN-SOURCE project takes up the Food-Water-Energy (FWE) nexus in three case studies to analyse interdependecies and synergies: County of Ludwigsburg (DE), New York/Gowanus (USA) and Vienna (A). The team is investigating scenarios for an integrated CO2-neutral and sustainable infrastructure and is developing an urban data and modelling framework to help analyse food-water-energy systems and relationships along the nexus. Based on the requirements of urban and regional stakeholders, a common 3D data model for cities and regions in Europe and the United States will be used.


At the HFT, a web-based 3D visualization of the Ludwigsburg district was created, which includes the terrain model and the entire building stock. In it, the heat demand and photovoltaic potential for each individual building in the district can be visualized (39 municipalities and about 0.5 million inhabitants). IN-SOURCE extends this 3D model with data on biomass, food and water/wastewater. For this purpose, parameters for the extension of the data model are derived from detailed analyses.

In order to calculate e.g. energetic biomass potentials, a new workflow within the simulation platform SimStadt developed at the HFT is being worked out. Currently, various workflows are already defined in SimStadt, such as solar potential analysis, PV potential analysis, or heating/cooling demand analysis with renovation strategy. With the new biomass workflow the locally available energy potential can be compared to the calculated energy demand of the district and synergies between nutrition and energy can be shown. Finally, the water required to produce the biomass is also included in order to understand the interactions in the complex food-energy-water.

Targeted results

The German sub-project takes up the ambitious climate protection plan of the County of Ludwigsburg ("climate neutral until 2050") in order to support its implementation, provide decision support and show synergies in the FWE area. Scenarios with a time horizon of 2050 are to show solutions for the realization of a maximum renewable supply, for example the potentials of sustainable energy, efficient wastewater treatment with waste2power and reuse of wastewater for irrigation in agriculture or the district wide biomass utilization potential with energy-food balance.

Go to the page of the Food-Water-Energy Simulation Tool

ManagementProf. Dr. Volker Coors
Partner (external)City University of New York (CUNY), New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), AIT - Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH - Center for Energy, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna, Ludwigsburg District, AH Consult Stuttgart

HFT transfer portal 
Project e-mail
FundingFederal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (German subproject)
Call for proposalJPI Urban Europe/Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI) Food-Water-Energy Nexus
Duration01.06.2018 – 31.05.2021



Name and position Field Email and phone Room
Scientific Director of the IAF Computer Science and Geodesy +49 711 8926 2708 7/030
Professor Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology +49 711 8926 2371 7/028
Academic staff member, Doctoral candidate Sustainable Energy Technology Competence Centre +49 711 8926 2939 7/006
Academic Staff Member (GeoInformatics) Photogrammetry and GeoInformatics +49 711 8926 2320 2/344
Academic staff member Sustainable Energy Competence Centre ( / Smart2Charge / IN-SOURCE +49 711 8926 2888 7/106