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TECHNOLOGY SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT: BIOTSA CASE. Josephine K Musango. ERC Colloquium 31 July 2012. I ntroduction. The goal of technology assessment is to generate policy options for societal problems

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Technology sustainability assessment biotsa case


Josephine K Musango

ERC Colloquium

31 July 2012

I ntroduction


  • The goal of technology assessment is to generate policy options for societal problems

  • Can technology, which has economic and societal benefits, also liberate the environment from human impact?

  • Can technology decouple goods and services from demands on planetary resources?

  • Can technology do the following to the economy?:

    • dematerialize

    • decarbonize

  • Are the net impacts of technology positive or negative?

Technology sustainability assessment

Technology sustainability assessment..

Lack of clear criteria for conducting proper assessment

TA concept treated as universal – strongly tied with western world

TA focuses mainly on impacts or outcomes of the technology

TA has relatively poor disciplinary coordination and integration

Most TA do not take account of holistic view – static in nature

No formal TA practice to support energy policy formulation

Application of sustainability based criteria is not common in TA or decision-making

Technology sustainability assessment1

Technology sustainability assessment..

  • Who?

    • Scientists, industry, policy makers, NGO’S, Civil society…

  • Why?

    • “How can the contribution of technology development for sustainability be improved?”

  • What?

    • Dialogues among the science, policy and development communities

Satsa framework


  • Inherently dynamic process

  • Societal worldviews and values

  • Long term future orientation

  • Uncertain

  • Dynamic

  • Systemic

  • Cumulative

  • Multi-domain problems

  • Differential & difference

  • Time and time evolution

M ethodological framework


Biotsa model

BIOTSA model

Assess the impact of proposed biodiesel production development on selected sustainability indicators in the Eastern Cape

S tudy area

study area

S takeholders in biodiesel production

Stakeholders in biodiesel production

Step 1 i dentified needs for biodiesel production

Step 1: Identified needs for biodiesel production

  • Addressing rural poverty

  • Rural development and black economic empowerment

  • Job creation particularly in the feedstock production

Step 1 i dentified sustainability indicators

Step 1: Identified sustainability indicators

Step 2 s ystem dynamics modelling biotsa

Step 2: system dynamics modelling - BIOTSA

  • BIOTSA model divided into eleven sub-models that provide outputs for the sustainability indicators

Employment biodiesel plant



Biodiesel production



Cost of operation

Community perception


Electricity demand

Biodiesel profitability

Social indicators

Economic indicators

Environmental indicators

B aseline results economic indicators

Baseline results: economic indicators

B aseline results social indicators

Baseline results: social indicators

B aseline results environmental indicators

Baseline results: environmental indicators

S cenario results perception support by product use

scenario results: perception, support, by-productuse

Biotsa model limitations

BIOTSA model limitations

Biotsa value chain insights

BIOTSA value chain insights

C onclusion


  • SATSA serves as a framework for science to promote a transdisciplinary approach, hence linking science-policy-business and society divide

  • SATSA has a potential for application in other technology development

  • No single strategy is capable of improving performance of sustainability indicators

W ay forward

Way forward

  • Targettechnology assessment on societal problems prioritized by stakeholders

  • Integrateappropriate mixes of disciplines, expertise and public/private sector in support of such problem-driven R&D

  • Link expertise and application across scales, from local to global

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