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Fuel Science Center: Integrated Design Method for Sustainable Fuel-based Mobility

Sustainable mobility concepts are an important measure to reduce CO2 and pollutant emissions in the transport sector. Alternative fuels (e.g. bio-based fuels, e-fuels from CO2, water and renewable electricity or so-called bio hybrid fuels) can reduce CO2 and pollutant emissions compared to fossil fuels. A successful switch to alternative fuels in the transport sector depends not only on the technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness but also on the positive acceptance of the switch in the stakeholder groups involved (politics, industry, population).

The aim of the project is to develop a holistic, model-based framework for the design and evaluation of alternative fuels and their production processes (life cycle analysis), which takes into account not only technoeconomic parameters and environmental impacts but also the acceptance of different stakeholder groups. The Chair of Communication Science at the Fuel Science Center investigates the public perception and social acceptance of alternative fuels. In previous life-cycle analyses, market models are used that assume a mostly rational behaviour of the stakeholders involved. Thus, they are only able to predict the actual perception and acceptance of a technical innovation to a limited extent, since they neglect human evaluations and actions.

To overcome this limitation, social aspects are to be integrated into the evaluation of fuels and their production processes on the basis of acceptance and risk perception models. In a first step, perceived risks and advantages of alternative fuels as well as prerequisites for a positive acceptance by different stakeholders (e.g. consumers, industry, politics) will be identified by means of an empirical mixed-method approach, which combines qualitative methods (focus groups, interviews) with quantitative methods (surveys, factor analyses, correlation/regression analyses, conjoint analyses). From this, specific stakeholder profiles and critical trade-offs (weighing up acceptance-relevant parameters) are derived. The results can be used to develop individually tailored information and communication strategies to inform the public about alternative fuels. In addition, success factors for a successful switch to alternative fuels in the transport sector can be derived. The long-term goal of the project is the direct integration of acceptance relevant parameters as an objective function into the life cycle analysis in order to better adapt technological decisions to the requirements of the environment and society and thus contribute to (ecologically and socially) sustainable innovations in the transport sector.

Funding:

DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Funding period:

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2026

Team:

Dr. Katrin Arning

Anika Linzenich

Project partners:

https://www.fuelcenter.rwth-aachen.de/cms/Fuelcenter/Der-Exzellenzcluster/~sivn/Team/?lidx=1