CASCADE MINTS was a project involving the development and use of energy and energy/economy models with special emphasis on analysing technological developments. It was essentially split into two distinct parts:

Part 1 focused on modelling, scenario evaluation and detailed analysis of the prospects of the hydrogen economy. It involved extensive development and use of detailed energy models that have received assistance from previous framework Programmes of DG Research. The ultimate aim of this part of the project was to enable perspective analysis of the conditions under which a transition to an energy system dominated by hydrogen is possible. The analysis at ZEW particularly concentrated on the prospects of hydrogen cars. The simulation results within the framework of a CGE model showed that, given the cost and efficiency projections in the Cascade Mints project, market penetration of hydrogen cars could reach 25% of overall new cars in 2030. An even higher market penetration can be reached by additional political measures, like increased taxes on conventional fuels or subsidies on the hydrogen technology.

Part 2 did not involve significant model development. Its main aim instead was to use a wide range of existing operational energy and energy/economy models in order to build analytical consensus (to the extent that this is possible) concerning the impacts of policies aimed at sustainable energy systems. This part built on the experience obtained in the ACROPOLIS project, assisted by DG Research within the 5th Framework Programme and involved common exercises carried out using a wide variety of models including modelling teams from outside the EU and Associated countries. The emphasis in the last version of this joint case study project was on policies influencing technological developments. The case study analysis showed that systematic political measures can help to promote renewable technologies. However, the effects on carbon emissions were rather moderate. Higher oil and gas prices led to much more significant reductions of carbon emissions. Additional positive effects on emissions were reached by higher technological progress.