Flexible transition strategies towards future well-to-wheel chains: an evolutionary modelling approach
AbstractWell to wheel (WTW) analyses mainly focus on alternative road fuel/vehicle systems that are very different from the current crude oil based individual transport system. A large share of WTW chains evaluated require changes in the energy source, new fuel production facilities, different fuel distribution systems and also modifications of the vehicles. An immediate transition to such a new system would be an unprecedented technological discontinuity. Historical examples of successful technological changes are characterized by stepwise transitions of subsystems. In this paper, we present a model that identifies likely sequences of stepwise transitions in analogy to the fitness landscape model in evolutionary biology. Applying this methodology allows for a dynamic interpretation of otherwise static WTW information. We show that sequences of transitions are path dependent, so that current decisions predetermine the future WTW system. We, therefore, argue that flexible initial transition steps that allow for different transition paths later on are favorable. Results suggest that improvements of vehicle technologies are most flexible if decision makers focus on decreasing WTW energy requirements. A full transition to diesel, as a first step, is advisable if WTW greenhouse gases should be reduced.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University in its series Working Papers with number FNU-114.
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision: Aug 2006
Alternative fuels; Hydrogen; Lock-in; Fitness-landscape;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Institutional; Evolutionary
- L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
- Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-03-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2007-03-17 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2007-03-17 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-INO-2007-03-17 (Innovation)
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