Economics & Policy Solutions Group: Projects
The Economics and Policy Solutions Group is focused on research breakthroughs in the following areas:
Life Cycle Assessment: To understand the entire lifespan of a product, from resource extraction and manufacture to use and disposal, our researchers apply the techniques of life cycle assessment (LCA). Research has examined such crucial issues as supplies of rare earth elements, system energy flows, and supply loops for recycling and reuse. Our faculty recently developed a clean car calculator, which determines the environmental and cost impact of various car models. Other projects have focused on water consumption of biofuel production and the life cycle of the emerging class of nanotechnology materials.
Renewable Energy: To help renewable technology advancements find a place in a complex energy marketplace, our researchers address broad questions of how to produce an effective national and global energy mix that meets our needs while reducing environmental impact. Moreover, our work helps to identify trends in the industry and the role of renewables, such as wind and solar.
Environmental Economics: The local, national, and international economic system interacts with the natural environment; economic activity affects the environment and environmental regulation shaps the nature of economic activity. By defining these interactions and the problems that arise from them, economists can identify barriers to adoption and guide the formulation of appropriate policies. Institute research also reveals which technology investments have the highest chance of success and how consumers will react to changing policies and economic conditions.
The Economics and Policy Solutions Group answers key questions about how technologies developed at UC Santa Barbara and elsewhere may perform, how they will impact the economy and the environment, and what kinds of policies encourage their adoption.
Each material, device and application developed by the Institute faces unique economic and environmental challenges. When our energy efficiency solutions meet key market insights and well-designed policy, we have the opportunity to speed the transition to 21st century energy economy.