From researching energy efficiency of freight transportation towards the end consumer, Chalmers researcher Jessica Wehner switches her focus to the transportation of household waste away from the point of consumption. She now receives Renova's Environmental Grant for 2018.
"Energy efficiency is as much about behaviours and attitudes as it is about technology," she says.
Jessica began her PhD studies in a research project called "The Fifth Fuel", funded by the Swedish Energy Agency. The project is about increasing energy efficiency in freight transportation and logistics, which benefits both environment and economy. In logistics contexts, a term that is often used is "the last mile" - meaning the last leg of transport from retailer to household. The end consumer is recognised as playing a very important role in the process of increasing energy efficiency in the reversed supply chain.
"I got the idea of looking at the transportation of goods in an opposite direction," says Jessica. "To see households as suppliers of waste in a reversed supply chain and the research makes an effort to initiate a new way of thinking towards waste collection ."
According to Jessica, energy efficiency is as much about behaviours and attitudes as it is about technology.
"I call the transport leg from households "the first mile". The way in which the waste is collected, how it's sorted and where households leave their waste, is crucial to energy efficiency. Perhaps we need to reconsider today's methods for sorting and collecting", she says.
Jessica conducts her research at Chalmers University of Technology, at the Department of Technology Management and Economics, Division of Service Management and Logistics. She plans to use the grant of 50,000 SEK to establish new collaborations with colleagues working on the same subject, including a colleague at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki who works with logistics regarding food waste supply chains. At the moment she is also working on a conference paper together with Chalmers colleagues Árni Halldórsson and Ceren Altuntas Vural.
Jessica Wehner received the 2018 Environmental Grant at Renova's Annual Meeting on March 9, 2018.
Read more about Jessica Wehner's research
Read more about Renova's Environmental Grant and former fellows (in Swedish)