Previous research has focused on how renewable technologies can be made competitive with traditional fossil fuel based sources, including through sustainability transition studies. In many cases, one renewable energy solution is framed as a magic bullet technology, one whose application can provide a more sustainable system on a large scale. In contrast, this project questions that kind of framing and instead examines how renewable technologies interact with each other throughout technological transitions.
Within the first case study, research focuses on how biogas and electricity are framed within the city bus system in Linköping, Sweden. This provides an interesting case, because biogas is the strong incumbent with 100% of city busses already using this fuel source. Increasingly, electricity is presented as a strong contender due to the efficiency of electric drive trains in city traffic and the quiet, emission free nature of electric busses. This case outlines a complex interaction, with each technology offering alternative benefits. Additionally, in many ways these technologies can work together through transportation systems that use both alternatives, hybrid biogas-electric vehicles, and biogas as a component of the electricity system. These possibilities highlight the messiness of the interactions between renewable fuels.
This project takes an actor network perspective to the above research problem. As it is the active stakeholders who drive the changes in the public transport system, it is their opinions of the preferred technology that are important. This project seeks to understand how actors involved in public transport projects frame renewable energy technologies. This is intended to improve understanding about how participants understand sustainability and how it is brought into practice within the projects.
With the terrifying uncertainty of climate change impacts looming, it is not surprising that many policy documents bring the future into the discussion. The fossil-free transport system is often framed as a trajectory where the starting point is the current system and the final outcomes is fossil independence at some future date. One example of this is in Swedish policy document SOU2013:84, Fossilfrihet på väg (fossil freedom on the road), where two future transport scenarios are outlined. In this document the “best case outcome” frames the public bus system as shifting towards more biofuels on the way to a totally electric public transport system by 2050. This project seeks to understand how such future scenarios are depicted in individual stakeholders perceptions of the public transport system