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About this book

This book provides an interdisciplinary account of how technological advances – mainly in the domains of energy and transportation – contribute to the transformation towards a more sustainable economic system. Drawing on methods from engineering, the management sciences and economics, which it combines in the framework of a systems sciences approach, the book presents qualitative and quantitative studies on government regulation, resources management and firms' strategy. Topics covered include the state-market dilemma of government CO2 emission targets, implications of the electrification of the economy, incentives and coercion in government transport policies, and innovations in the electric vehicle industry.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Reframing the Notion of Sustainable Economy Through Perspectives on Limits, Tensions and Paradoxes Within the System

The ambition of the book is first to clarify the concepts of sustainability or sustainable economy, to study their most diverse fields of application, and then to display their limits and highlight the very many tensions that exist between them.The core themes of the book are the paradoxes and trends related to the future sustainability of economic systems, sectors and firms, in the context of limited natural resources. The ebb and flow between theory and practice proves essential towards building a better understanding of current contradictions of the sustainable economy.

Pascal da Costa, Danielle Attias

From Energy Market Regulations to CO2 Targets


The Paradoxes of the European Energy Market Regulation: A Historical and Structural Analysis of the Electricity Mix

The aim of the Chap. 2 is to understand how the drivers of investment decisions in electricity production have evolved over time-from 1945 to the present day, in the specific context of Europe facing wars and conflicts, scientific and technological progress, all within environments undergoing strong political and academic developments.We study investment in power production decisions by comparing the history of European electricity markets with successively dominant economic theories in this field. Therefore, we highlight differences between rational behaviours, such as those described by theory, and actual behaviours of investors and governments. Liberalization is clearly on the agenda given its 25-year history in terms of European Union markets, as well as forming part of a rationalization that is prescribed by new economic theories. It remains considerably heterogeneous, which complicates the creation of a large single market for electric power within the Union.We see also new constraints on energy policy in Europe, which takes the form of new regulation, mainly relating to climate and renewables. As liberalization and climate policy were initially separate packages in EU legislation, their combined effects pose a critical ‘missing money problem’ to major utilities, thus making for this re-regulation, that is nonetheless different from the centralized control experienced by all European electricity markets until the mid-1980s.

Bianka Shoai-Tehrani, Pascal da Costa

A Prospective Analysis of CO2 Emissions for Electric Vehicles and the Energy Sectors in China, France and the US (2010–2050)

Within the landscape of global warming and energy transition, many countries have announced nationally aligned contributions in reducing their CO2 emissions (COP21 and 22, in 2015 and 2016 respectively). With the aim of evaluating the maturing and the success of these targets, technology roadmaps are necessary and serve a twofold function in the evaluative process. They serve as points of comparisons between each other and they are yardsticks by which to measure change for the 2050 horizon.In this chapter, technology roadmaps are studied for three representative countries: China, France and the United States of America. The roadmaps cover the sectors responsible for the greatest part of CO2 emissions, i.e. the power, transport, residence and industry sectors. They also cover the impact of the main technologies, i.e. carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. This chapter thus assesses the future of energy trends and especially shows that the deployment of electric vehicles shall prove crucial for reaching the commitments towards contributions at national levels.

Wenhui Tian, Pascal da Costa

Eco-innovation and New Production Models


Business Model Design: Lessons Learned from Tesla Motors

Electric vehicle (EV) industry is still in the introduction stage in product life cycle, and dominant design remains unclear. EV companies, both incumbent from the car industry and new comers, have long taken numerous endeavors to promote EV in the niche market by providing innovative products and business models. While most carmakers still take ‘business as usual’ approach for developing their EV production and offers, Tesla Motors, an EV entrepreneurial firm, stands out by providing disruptive innovation solutions. We review the business model approach in the literature, then classify the innovation dimensions in the EV ecosystem. We study Tesla Motors in terms of: (1) innovation related to the vehicle, (2) innovation related to the battery (3) innovation concerning the recharging system, and (4) innovation toward the EV ecosystem.Lessons for incumbent carmakers for their EV business model design: Tesla Motors (1) holds a product strategy entering from high-end market and moving to mass market, with a high level of innovation adaptation and learning by doing; (2) pays considerable attention to reduce range anxiety by high performance supercharger station network and high capacity battery; (3) shows a very high level of integration of information technology into many aspects of the EV business model, such as advanced in-car services and digital distribute channel; (4) shows a new value configuration which involving in high level of vertical integration towards battery and recharging network.

Yurong Chen, Yannick Perez

Availability of Mineral Resources and Impact for Electric Vehicle Recycling in Europe

Lithium-ion battery technology is a key component of vehicle electrification and its end-of-life recovery is an important factor in lifting barriers towards increased Electromobility, such as battery cost, environmental impact, mandatory recycling rates of more than 50% battery weight (European Union) and, finally, the availability of constituent elements such as lithium and cobalt. This chapter focuses on the availability of constituent materials, in order to assess the potential for critical shortages due to a scaling up of Electromobility. To account for the complexity and long-term horizon of our study, we combine the use of System Dynamics with the Stanford Research Institute Matrix for scenario planning. We find that for lithium-ion battery needs, only cobalt is likely to see its reserves depleted. Other materials such as nickel, manganese, copper, graphite and iron are at risk of depletion due to developments unrelated to Electromobility. In all cases, we show that recycling significantly reduces the consumption of materials for lithium-ion batteries.

Hakim Idjis, Danielle Attias

Comparing Sustainable Performance of Industrial System Alternatives in Operating Conditions

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) assesses the environmental performance of products through their entire life cycle. LCA-based decision-making usually focuses on environmental impact, omitting other considerations, such as customer expectations and economic aspects. Although the environmental performances of industrial systems are highly dependent on operating conditions (e.g. local context, accessibility of resources), LCA usually integrates generic data. The aim of this chapter is to provide an integrated framework to identify the solutions best suited to a specific context, considering environmental, economic and commercial aspects.First, the environmental performances of competing products are compared using LCA. A scenario-based approach is then applied based on the most influential parameters identified in the environmental assessment. Costs are then incorporated into a set of exploitation scenarios.Second, several customer profiles are generated with respect to their economic and environmental strategies. Products are then ranked according to these profiles. The final step is to identify the most suitable solution for a given context-client couple.The framework is applied to three burners for forge furnaces. Results demonstrate that client profiles and operating contexts (namely client expectations, location and resource availability and costs) affect technological choices.

Yann Leroy, François Cluzel

The Regional Approach to Sustainable Transport as a New Paradigm


Smart Mobility Providing Smart Cities

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in or around a city. Cities already generate 70% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. The future of urbanisation will be smart, in which land use is optimised and the transport system is more efficient and environmentally friendly, providing affordable mobility services to ensure well-being in the city.In a smart city, urban and transport planning should be co-conducted harmoniously in order to create a new transit-supportive city, which is the wider context in which we position our vision of smart mobility. After this we present and analyse the links between the transport system, disruptive innovation, and the role of public policies in change management. In this chapter, we focus on the organisation of the co-conception of smart mobility, in a local territory, defining this as disruptive eco-innovation. The development and diffusion of innovations within the mobility ecosystem significantly disrupt usages and modify market boundaries. Implementation conditions to achieve a widespread adoption of smart mobility are discussed and the role and decision-making methods of territorial actors are considered.

Isabelle Nicolaï, Rémy Le Boennec

Combining Public and Private Strategies Towards Sustainable and Responsible Mobility

Urban capitals worldwide are experiencing huge mobility changes which engender deep modifications of the urban space. The entrance of newcomers and new mobility services are all based on the collective awareness that a sustainable economy cannot develop without smooth, ecological and sustainable mobility. Developing a sustainable city is becoming the main stake in the forthcoming massive urbanization. This transformation occurs by connecting private and public actors, as private actors can alone design neither innovative business models nor appropriate strategy without public actors. Partnerships between private and public actors are necessary, but also complex. Combining public and private offers for the new mobility is creating opportunities, but also constraints. The revolution in urban mobility aims to be intelligent and user-centered. This concept of mobility-as-a-service is based on an offer of mixed mobility is going to afford the city-dweller safer and more sustainable mobility. To study successful private/public partnerships builds the framework for a repositioning of the traditional actors and to a redefining of their role.

Danielle Attias, Sylvie Mira Bonnardel

Opening in Conclusion: An Anthropological Approach to Transformation—Shaping Shapes

Since D’Arcy Thompson’s pioneering work On Growth and Form published in 1942, continuous efforts have been made in Western academic fields to understand and capture forms and evaluate their similarities and differences, their continuities (invariants) and their discontinuities through time. Mathematics has been used intensively to capture forms such as those of cells, gases and animal or plant shapes. It has also been used by anthropologists to capture what has been interpreted as the forms or structure of languages, myths and symbols. That is, mathematics has supported the attempt to give a form to non-tangible, immaterial human expressions and thoughts. Organizations and companies also feel the need to define their structure or the shape taken by their relationships and interconnections. Here again, mathematics is at work in this attempt to give a form to how they function. This paper focuses mainly on the Western quest for form and structure and gives some examples of the methods used to address this quest. In so doing, it formulates the following interdisciplinary research question: can we think about the transformation of functions which do not have any intrinsic shape? How does the idea of “environmental shape” captures the function of sharing in order to renew our perception of sustainable development?

Angela Minzoni
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