Research - 08.10.2020 - 00:00
8 October 2020. Three awards are being conferred to the following projects
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the awards could not be conferred as planned in May. The prizes will now be awarded at the later date of 12 October 2020 in a senate meeting.
The HSG Impact Awards acknowledge research projects at the University of St.Gallen which have an especially clearly recognisable impact on society. The jury, consisting of practitioners and members of the University of St.Gallen, assessed applications from various HSG research disciplines.
Sustainable district energy supply
In most countries, the energy supply system is highly dependent on fossil and nuclear fuels. In 2016, around 61% of the world’s electricity was produced from gas and coal-fired power plants. Nuclear power accounted for 10% and hydroelectric power, as the most important renewable source, accounted for 17% of the annual production of electricity. Many countries have set ambitious targets for reducing their dependence on fossil fuels. The production of electricity is becoming an ever greater focus of this, since mobility and heat supply will rely on electricity in future. Photovoltaic (PV) systems will be viewed as a central cornerstone of these ambitious de-carbonisation plans. The intensive use of PV systems, however, leads to serious challenges. Today’s energy supply system is being turned upside down. Large, central energy producers are to be replaced by lots of small, decentralised PV systems. This means that electricity needs to be produced and used at the same time. Even today, “too much” sun leads to excessive electricity production via PV systems, endangering the stability of the power grid. Too little sun, on the other hand, means little or no electricity. This is where the “Quartierstrom” energy platform comes in. The basic idea: locally produced electricity should be used locally. For this, a local electricity market was set up in Walenstadt, St.Gallen, in which 37 households trade locally produced solar power. The platform has been in operation since the start of 2019 and is based on the principles: “green, local, fair”.
Business models for the future
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for a growing number of companies. This is not least because customers are also placing greater importance on protecting the climate and environment. When you look more closely, however, there are major differences between how companies try to adapt their business models. Back in 2012 a research project was launched which offered companies a management tool for business model innovation: the “Business Model Navigator”. Supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, an interdisciplinary team under Professor Karolin Frankenberger developed this approach further. The goal: to link the topic of sustainability and business model innovation and to develop sustainable, future-proof business models which rely on the “Circular Economy”. Companies such as V-Zug, Schoeller Textil AG, Bosch and many others have sustainably changed their business models using this approach.
Insurance solutions for smallholders in Sri Lanka and elsewhere
Natural catastrophes and extreme weather conditions are on the rise globally. The impact of these extreme events in emerging nations is often much worse than in developed economies. Insurance cover is often not offered to their low-income populations, or they are unable to pay. The HSG researchers Professor Alexander Braun and Niklas Häusle are convinced that an innovative, decentralised insurance model based on blockchain technology has the potential to mitigate these problems. In cooperation with Etherisc and the Decentralized Insurance Foundation, with headquarters in the Swiss Crypto Valley in Zug, Braun and Häusle have developed an economic mechanism which alleviates problems of incentives in decentralised risk transfer and thus substantially broadens the application options of the model.
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