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The Industrial Ecology approach for assessing the Sustainability of the Energy Transition

Introduction to the Sustainability series

This MOOC is part of the series on “Sustainability”, which is one of the world’s major challenges of today and tomorrow and requires multidisciplinary competences. The series provides technical knowledge on a variety of topics, such as sustainable building, energy transition, water management and food waste prevention.

See the full series

Course description

The aim of this MOOC is to provide a holistic but quantitative and multi-dimensional perspective on the energy transition underway today. Especially when dealing with cross sectoral linkages and circular economy, the instruments made available by the Industrial Ecology can represent a great support to researchers and practitioners and can be used to better inform policy makers. For instance, it was already recognised that the extension and evolution of the monetary input-output analysis can provide sound scientific methodology to evaluate the impact of different sustainability policies and strategies at national, regional or interregional level. Simplified and real-life case studies will be treated with dedicated pieces of software as hands-on sessions for the attendants who will be able to master the open-source code MARIO and use it within their professional activity.

The course is structured in 3 weeks:

  • Week 1 – Energy within sustainable development
  • Week 2 – The approach of industrial ecology
  • Week 3 – Hands on module on industrial ecology (with tutorial)

Total workload of the course: 6 hours

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

Week 1

  1. Discuss the sustainability constraints to which the energy transition is subject to
    ESCO: energy ESCO: promote sustainability
  2. Describe the Industrial Ecology approach
    ESCO: ecological principles
  3. Explain national accounting principles
    ESCO: national generally accepted accounting principles
  4. Compare the Industrial Ecology instruments available to assess the sustainability impact associated with the main challenges of the Energy Transition at both global and regional level
    ESCO: measure company's sustainability performance

Week 2

  1. Describe the Life Cycle Perspective
    ESCO: systems development life-cycle
  2. Explain the use of monetary input-output tables both for national and multiregional applications
    ESCO: financial forecasting
  3. Indicate the approaches and methodologies to apply the Life Cycle Approach to sector and product analysis
    ESCO: assess the life cycle of resources
  4. Understand Input-Output Analysis

Week 3

  1. Get familiar with a real Input-Output table
  2. Performing Leontief’s Input-Output model through Excel MARIO
    ESCO: using digital tools for collaboration, content creation and problem solving
  3. Performing Leontief’s Input-Output model through MARIO, a dedicated open-source software for performing Input-Output Analysis
    ESCO: working with computers
  4. Discuss results of a simple analysis within the complex energy challenges of Europe in 2022
    ESCO: energy efficiency


To complete this course is required MS Excel proficiency and Python language basic knowledge.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.

Topic outline

  • Week 0 - Introduction to the course

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 1 - Energy within sustainable development

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 2 - The approach of industrial ecology

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 3 - Hands on module on industrial ecology (with tutorial)

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Additional Resources


Your final grade for the course will be based on the results of your answers to the graded quizzes. You have unlimited attempts at each quiz, but you must wait 5 minutes before you can try again. You will have successfully completed the course if you achieve 60% (or more) of the total course score. The maximum score possible for each quiz is given at the top of the quiz. You can see your score in the quiz on your last attempt or on the 'Grades' page.

Certificate of accomplishment

You must be registered in POK through Politecnico di Milano personal account to obtain the Certificate of Accomplishment. It will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the graded quizzes and filling the final survey. 

You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from Politecnico di Milano web services.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course completely online and absolutely free of charge.

Course faculty

Matteo Vincenzo Rocco

Matteo Vincenzo Rocco


Matteo V. Rocco is Assistant Professor at the Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano (Italy), working in the Sustainable Energy System Analysis and Modelling group (SESAM, Previous positions include: Senior Associate Researcher at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) from 2018 to 2020, Assistant Professor (RTD-A) at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) from 2017 to 2019, post-doctoral fellow at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) from 2015 to 2016, Visiting Researcher at Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE) in Zaragoza, Spain in year 2013. Dr. Rocco serves as professor for the PhD course of “Resource Planning and Management within Sustainable Development”, in the Energy and Nuclear Technology Science (STEN) program, Politecnico di Milano. Research activities of Dr. Rocco are focused on the development of integrated and multi-scale energy models capable to define future development scenarios at the nation-wide scale and by assessing the related Life Cycle impacts. Dr. Rocco received the following awards: “Wassily Leontief Memorial Prize”, received from the International Input-Output Association (IIOA) for the best paper presented at the 27th International Input-Output Conference (Glasgow, Scotland, 2019) and “Premio Giovani Ricercatori LCA”, received from the Rete Italiana LCA for the best paper presented at the fifth scientific congress of the Rete Italiana LCA (Ravenna, Italy, 2016).

Nicolò Golinucci

Nicolò Golinucci


Nicolò Golinucci is a PhD candidate in the SESAM group, Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano. He is concluding his PhD on the role of Industrial Ecology methodologies in the analysis of CO2 emission reduction mechanisms, proposing an innovative individual and consumption-based approach. Nicolò works on energy modelling and meso-economic analysis by also writing open-source software in Python. He worked as a researcher at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and has experience in digital transformation and IT integration applied to the energy sector.

Lorenzo Rinaldi

Lorenzo Rinaldi


Lorenzo Rinaldi is a Doctoral Researcher at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Energy. His research focuses on the integration of energy and economic models and on critical raw materials and geopolitical implications assessment. Within this field he collaborated with Italian energy companies to perform impact evaluation of renewables-oriented and decarbonization scenarios. He developed or contributed to several open-source energy modelling tools, covering energy demand simulation and bottom-up energy optimization models. He is the co-developer of an open-source framework for comprehensive input-output analysis (MARIO). As far as teaching experience, Lorenzo is active as scientific tutor and lectures facilitator for two Master of Science (MSc) courses within the Energy Engineering track of the Department of Energy at Politecnico di Milano and he is regularly co-supervisor of MSc theses.

Francesco Tonini

Francesco Tonini


Francesco Tonini is a Doctoral Researcher at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Energy. His research activity focuses on integrated impact assessment of energy related investments and interventions with specific focus to developing countries. Within this field he collaborates with Italian energy companies and NGOs. More specifically, he developed a direct experience about the African continent collaborating with an Italian NGO active in the rural context of Tanzania in providing access to electricity and modern facilities to local communities. As far as teaching experience, Francesco is active as scientific tutor and lectures facilitator for several specializing master courses organized by private companies in partnership with the Department of Energy at Politecnico di Milano. He collaborates with international institutions and development organization for the provision of capacity building and training programs for energy professionals and researchers around the world. His research activity is awarded by the Enel Foundation Fellowship for PhD studies aimed to identify crossroads between advanced technologies. His Master Thesis on System Dynamics modelling for rural electrification strategies is awarded with the Altero Matteoli memorial price because of its relevance toward the care about common good.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.