Smart City

Resource Revolution: how to capture the biggest business opportunity in a century?

Stefan Heck, professor at Stanford, gave a conference to tell us more about the book he wrote in April 2014 called ‘Resource Revolution’.

Stefan Heck began by explaining that the question of ‘resources’ truly started with the industry revolution. New York for instance experienced a big change in 1906 with the apparition of clean water, electrity, electrification of transports, etc. In 1930 New York could be defined as a modern industrial city.

The industrial revolution brought several good things: it helped to increase life expectancy, make transportation widely available, make books more affordable for the masses and it strongly increased labor productivity. However, the population skyrocketed at the same time, everything started to go faster and consumption exploded. Consequently, more energy, in the form of fossil fuels, had to be extracted and began to become more expensive (extraction in deep underground, offshore). Resource became a real economic challenge. Thus, since the industrial revolution we experience new needs to improve productivity while saving resources.

In his book, Resource Revolution, co-authored with Matt Rogers, Stefan Heck describes how a resource revolution is possible with the use of natural resources so effective it defies conventional wisdom and enables breakthrough performance.

Stefan Heck underlined 3 priorities for resources revolution.

The first one is the cleaning of air

As long as countries develop, emissions rise. We have already seen important shifts through renewables. But even beyond solar, amazing solutions are being developed. Energy sufficiency with heat reflective windows, high efficiency devices, LEDs and lighting controls, demand response, electric vehicles or distributed generation and storage are innovative solutions that will help utilities and industries reduce their emissions and create new value.

The second main point is how to make energy affordable

Grid storage is developing rapidly and will make the entire system dynamic. People will be able to make money by arbitraging the energy. The « 4D » (digital network, distributed resources, disruptive and dispatchable demand) are restructuring the whole utility industry.

The third big challenge is transportation, especially cars.

The typical American car spends 96% of the time parked. Most of the fuel never reaches the wheels and goes with engine losses.

Most of the time, the roads are empty. The consequence is a huge waste of resources. To solve this, electric cars are emerging, following the « ACES scheme »

  • Autonomous
  • Connected
  • Electrified
  • Shared

Resource Revolution shows how to take what is being seen as a worldwide crisis and turn it into the biggest business opportunity of the past one hundred years with innovations in waste reduction, substitution, circularity, optimization, virtualization, and breakthrough solutions coming from nanotechnology, biology, software, and systems engineering.

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