Delphi-Environment

Cleaner production and sustainable development in the Technology-Delphi Austria

Technology-Delphi Austria was carried out from 1996-1998 by the Institute of Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The study is part of the first research programme in technology foresight of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Transport. The objective was – in contrast to most Delphi studies which try to identify new emerging technologies – to determine Austria's potential in selected future-oriented technology fields as well as to identify the most important measures to realise this potential (for detailed information on Technology Austria see main focuses "Basic principles and concepts"). One of the seven technology areas examined is "Cleaner Production and Sustainable Development".

In the technology field Cleaner Production and Sustainable Development a team of national experts identified a total of 35 innovations, in which Austria was likely to achieve international leadership in R&D, commercial exploitation and/or organisational-societal implementation. These innovations were grouped into four topics:

  • 1) Cleaner processes;
  • 2) Products from renewable raw materials;
  • 3) Renewable energy sources; and
  • 4) Dematerialization and regionalisation of the economy.

In addition, for each of these topics a list of 17-21 suitable measures to foster the realisation of their potential was generated. On the basis of this a Delphi survey was carried out in two rounds with solid participation rates of 41.6 per cent in the first and 70.6 per cent in the second round (211 experts finally participated).

The detailed analysis of the results showed that Austria's potential to achieve international leadership is particularly high within three areas:

  • Process technologies – biological pulp production, high vacuum coatings of metals, alloying and hardening of high-quality tools and machine parts, and particle-strengthened or foamed light alloys for short-distance vehicles.
  • Materials from renewable sources – solid bioplastics from vegetable fibres, non-durable bioplastics from residual substances, and foamed bioplastics as substitutes for polystyrene and polyurethane.
  • Centres for a sustainable economy – establishment of repair and re-use networks, establishment of regional disassembling and reprocessing centres, development of networks for the common use of investment-intensive technologies, and utilisation of new marketing channels for small companies.

With regard to measures, the results of the Delphi survey showed that a strengthening of co-operation is not only of the highest priority for "Cleaner processes" but also for "Products from renewable raw materials" as well as for "Renewable energy sources". The implementation of an ecological tax reform proved to be a particularly high priority for innovations from the areas "Dematerialization and regionalisation of the economy" and "Renewable energy sources". In addition, within the latter two areas, societal- and education-related measures were attributed highest relevance.

See also the main page to the Delphi project.

Duration
06/1996 - 12/1999