The PhD study Josephine K Musango focuses on technology sustainability assessment of renewable energy options in South Africa. The development of new and appropriate energy technologies to address the issues of climate change, energy security, and sustainability in general, makes energy technology assessment an essential process. Energy technology assessment for sustainability, however, is inherently a complex and dynamic process that involves multiple stakeholders. In addition, energy technology assessment is “problem oriented” as it attempts to provide solutions outside science and provides advice mainly to policy/decision makers, the academic community, and the general members of society. Energy technology assessment for sustainability thus requires a holistic and transdisciplinary approach. In the South Africa context, specifically, there is no formal and coherent approach to energy technology assessment from a sustainability perspective. Although the South African governance system is developing national measures of sustainability, serious application of sustainability-based criteria is not common in technology assessments, and associated decision making processes, on important energy technology developments.
Josephine’s PhD aims to develop an integrated framework for assessing sustainable renewable technology development in South Africa. A dynamic systems approach, specifically system dynamics modelling, is the proposed methodology for the integrated framework. A case study to assess the sustainability of biodiesel technology development in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa is used to demonstrate such an integrated framework. This is combined with a consultative transdisciplinary approach where the key stakeholders are consulted to respond to certain aspects of the system dynamics model development.
Josephine’s PhD work is funded by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (www.csir.co.za) and is part of a larger research effort to establish a Bioenergy Systems Sustainability Assessment and Management (BIOSSAM) portal - www.biossam.org.