Transition Engineering : Building a Sustainable Future book cover
1st Edition

Transition Engineering
Building a Sustainable Future

ISBN 9780367341268
Published September 30, 2019 by CRC Press
230 Pages - 67 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Transition Engineering: Building a Sustainable Future examines new strategies emerging in response to the mega-issues of global climate change, decline in world oil supply, scarcity of key industrial minerals, and local environmental constraints. These issues pose challenges for organizations, businesses, and communities, and engineers will need to begin developing ideas and projects to implement the transition of engineered systems. This work presents a methodology for shifting away from unsustainable activities. Teaching the Transition Engineering approach and methodology is the focus of the text, and the concept is presented in a way that engineers can begin applying it in their work.

Table of Contents

1 The Mega-Problems of Unsustainability

1.1 Introduction: The Mega-Problems

1.2 The Problem with Sustainable Development: It Isn’t Working

1.3 Unsustainable Pollution: Global Warming and Climate Change

1.4 Oil Supply and Peak Oil

1.5 Discussion

2 Problems of Unsustainability

2.1 Review of Sustainability Principles

2.2 Problems of Carrying Capacity and Resource Constraints

2.3 Water and Land Requirements for Energy Production

2.4 The Problems of Mineral Resource Depletion and Issues with Recycling

2.5 Discussion

3 Complexity and Communication

3.1 Energy System Data and Communication

3.2 Future Energy Scenarios and Pathways

3.3 Corporate Responsibility

3.4 Positive Approach to Difficult Problems

3.5 Discussion

4 Transition Engineering

4.1 Defining the System and the InTIME Approach

4.2 Step 1: Study History

4.3 Step 2: Take Stock

4.4 Step 3: Explore the Future

4.5 Step 4: Time Travel

4.6 Step 5: Backcast and Trigger

4.7 Step 6: Down-Shift Project

4.8 Step 7: System Transition

4.9 Discussion

5 InTIME Models and Methods

5.1 The InTIME Workflow Structure

5.2 Feedback Control Theory and Anthropogenic System Dynamics

5.3 Development Vector Analysis

5.4 Strategic Analysis of Complex Systems

5.5 The Matrix Game

5.6 Discussion

6 Economic Decision Support

6.1 Cost of Energy Production

6.2 Environmental Costs

6.3 Conventional Financial Analysis

6.4 Discussion

6.4.1 The Emperor’s New Clothes

7 Transition Economics: Balancing Costs and Benefits

7.1 Biophysical Economics

7.2 Transition Economics and Financial Analysis

7.3 Discussion

7.3.1 Low-Hanging Fruit

8 Conclusion and Discussion

8.1 The Big Do

8.2 The Final Story: Cassandra



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Susan Krumdieck is professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand where she has taught energy transition engineering for 17 years. She is the co-founder and a Trustee of the Global Association for Transition Engineering (GATE). Professor Krumdieck serves on the editorial board for six journals, including Energies, Energy Conservation & Management and Biophysical Economics, and she has edited special issues of Energy Policy, Energies, and Sustainability.


"Here is a book that captures the essential energy crisis of dependency on fossil fuels at a time when dramatic change is urgently needed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to avert the worst effects of climate instability. The book is accessible in style and uses imagery that illustrates the problems faced and the solutions available. Engineers need to increase their understanding of the huge challenges around energy that society faces, and this book helps with this understanding."

-Peter Guthrie, Professor- Engineering for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge

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