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Industry 4.0 - energy and mobility sectors: the 'smart' factor into urban mobility use

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Objective: To generate strategic principles of value generation for sustainable mobility into smart-cities, incorporating the emergent local energy and infrastructure needs.

Expected Results: Design of a typology of sustainable mobility solutions for multiple potential combinations (ultra-low carbon mobility futures) for multiple type of users.

This project focuses in particular on local renewable energy generation in urban settings, to satisfy local energy demand (Tomaschek et al, 2016) from emerging needs such as electric vehicles. There are multiple ways of generating different types of renewable energy; and different types of ultra-low carbon mobility. But what is the optimal mix of energy and mobility types to ensure all mobility needs are satisfied? The focus of this project is on three principal mobility types, and two principal renewable energy types. Mobility is split into individual effort (walking and cycling), individual personal mobility (ultra-low and zero emission cars and motorbikes), and collective personal mobility (ultra-low and zero emission public transport). The principal renewable energy types are electricity and hydrogen fuel-cells. These can be generated by means of solar, wind, anaerobic digestion of wastes, etc. The challenge that this project seeks to address is how best to incorporate these transport requirements into cities, recognising that multiple different potential combinations of mobility types, renewable energy types and renewable energy-generation feedstocks are possible (Bale et al, 2012; Creutzig, 2016).

This project is seen primarily as a qualitative investigation, based on in-depth case studies. As this topic is relatively new and emerging, such an approach allows for the exploration of challenges, barriers and possible solutions, where cities or regions have sought to create multi-modal low emissions zones. Such a small-n approach (Flyvberg, 2001) can then be combined with causal process tracing - CPT (Bennett and Checkel, 2015) to identify the sequence of steps undertaken by the stakeholders, where problems have arisen, and how they have sought to overcome them. In particular, CPT will allow for an analysis of how best the consequences of disruptive innovation (eg Hang et al, 2015) can be captured and exploited. We shall identify a number of cities/regions across UK and Europe, not only to analyse as case studies, but also to include in the project as partners. This will facilitate cross-fertilisation of innovative approaches to the delivery of ultra-low carbon mobility.


Doctor Kostas Galanakis

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Kostas Galanakis