Troels Christian Andersen

The aim of this research is to fill out the gap between academic strategy theory, emerging technology and the business model concepts such as Business Model Innovation and Business Model Innovation Leadership by investigating and proposing a Multi Business Model Innovation Strategy framework that will serve the purpose of guiding how businesses can gain competitive advantage in new ways through technology in coherence of how business models are developed and combined. It is the purpose of this PhD project to research how strategy can be developed to fit the new emerging trends of multi business model innovation. The following main research question are based upon the theoretical background study and the stated hypotheses;  

How can a generic strategic model be developed to merge the gap between strategy, technology and the multi business model framework concept, meanwhile enabling businesses to gain competitive advantages by outperforming others via strategic multi business modelling? 

The research hypotheses:

  1. A generic strategy model can create clarity on the existing gab between traditional academic strategy and the business model concept.
  2. The M-BMIS framework can help the businesses in the process of business model innovation and strategy of combining business models.
  3. The M-BMIS framework can be visualized through technology that enhances the businesses ability to understand and control the relations between strategy, business models, business model innovation process and its impact on business model ecosystem.
  4. The M-BMIS framework can help businesses outperform their competitors.
  5. The M-BMIS framework can help business to make the Business Model Ecosystems larger.

Dimitrios Apostolou

Assessment of a portable RES-based H2 production-storage system towards a zero-emission cycling based transportation

During the last decade the electric vehicle industry has been developed rapidly due to the associated environmental impacts arising from the use of conventional fossil fuel-based internal combustion engines (ICE). If someone take into account that the transportation sector comprises more than 33% of the EU-28 final energy consumption, and in 2015 was responsible for the annual emissions of at least 1182Mt CO2 equivalent (EC, 2017), this turn to sustainable mobility will present several positive effects for the environment including air quality improvement, noise reduction, and fuel independency in the case of renewable sources (RES) utilisation.

One of the most promising technologies for promoting “green” mobility comprises hydrogen based systems via the utilisation of fuel cells (FC). Especially, hydrogen production via water electrolysis supplied from RES results to much lower Life Cycle (LC) emissions and will contribute to an enhanced sustainability of the future transportation sector.

As it is mentioned above, production of H2 via RES consists a very promising method for portable applications. Denmark is a country where RES energy and particularly wind-based electricity is considered essential to the electrical network as it contributes nowadays more than 40% in the national gross electricity generation.  However, wind energy exhibits a stochastic and variable availability, enhancing the mitigation of the RES maximum penetration during the daily and seasonal electricity demand fluctuations. So, it is obvious that even in the case of high wind potential, the produced energy may not be integrated into the electrical network, resulting in a waste of energy and monetary losses for the RES investors. Hence, one may notice that it would be beneficial to combine the potential of hydrogen mobility with the wind energy curtailments in order to deploy a new market including hydrogen powered vehicles and production of hydrogen from the otherwise curtailed power from wind farms.

The main objective of this project focuses on the investigation of a portable hydrogen production and storage unit supplied from the power curtailments of wind farms located in central Denmark in order to produce store and deliver hydrogen to fuel cell based low duty vehicles such as FC bicycles.

More precisely this study will aim at:

  • Investigation of the viability of a small scale portable H2 production/storage device by comparing CAPEX, O&M cost, energy cost, range of the vehicle.
  • Study and analysis of the emerging market regarding the cost benefit of both wind farm and hydrogen portable refuelling infrastructure investors.
  • Design of the pricing mechanism of the real-time emerging market.
  • Investigation of the best scenario in terms of high absorption of wind rejected power and hydrogen demand of FC bicycles in the city of Herning. This investigation will take into account the assumption that the residents of Herning would use for short distances (up to 50km) only FC bicycles, avoiding car and public transportation. In this context, analysis of CO2 emissions avoidance is going to be performed.

Dafni-Despoina Avgoustaki

Growth perspectives of small scale hydroponic systems in cities: The sustainable energy-based business approach

The continuing increase of the human population, the competition for land, water, energy supply security and overexploitation of natural resources has led to many changes in the agriculture domain. Urbanizations and industrialization as long as global warming and deterioration of the environment and the natural resources are bound to minimize the available arable land for cultivations and its productivity. It is clear that by developing and growing innovative and optimizing materials and by the utilization of the energy resources a better exploitation of soil area for plant growth can be provided. Under these circumstances, providing sufficient yield while meeting the consumers’ needs in terms of quality for the entire population using conventional agricultural production methods will become even more demanding.

Coupling of indoor hydroponic systems and relative technologies and mass deployment may lead potentially to significant benefits for the environment and the economy. Indoor hydroponic farming requires significant amounts of energy (heating demand of the plants and lighting) operating 24/7. By controlling the energy requirements of the system, while at the same time optimizing the plants’ growth, has great potentials leading to the integrated energy-food nexus. When electricity prices are high, indoor farming demand could be lowered and electricity prices are low, indoor farming electricity and heating requirements can be sufficiently met. A mass deployment of such systems, can even help make the grid more efficient by providing the utility Demand Response (DR), so when power is needed elsewhere on the grid, hydroponics can reduce the amount of energy they're using, allowing the utility not to switch on expensive and “dirty” peak power plants.

Through this project it is aimed to be researched the reaction of specific plant species in the energy demand and consumptions. The plants need specific conditions of temperature, humidity, water, solar radiation and fertilizers in order to develop and grow. The inertia point, is the optimum and appropriate conditions of development which are ceased suddenly for the plants.

More specifically this project will aim at: 

  • Analysis and evaluation of the main advantages and drawbacks of the existing hydroponic market regarding the participation of individuals via the DR programs of small consumers in those markets
  • Installation and setup of the lab scale experimental unit. Tests and initial linkage with the electricity markets aiming at maximizing the renewable energy sources integration. Wind power curtailment and hydroponic deployment scenarios.
  • Research the inertia point of the plants and how long the plant will be able to keep growing in the best conditions and with a stable rhythm and when this pace will start descending
  • Optimization of conditions and plants growth inertia.
  • Design of a mobile app and distance control optimization

Torben Cæsar Bisgaard Bjerrum

Data-driven business models

Technology is the biggest story in business today, and data is a vital factor for success of businesses in the future. Any technology will always be in need of a business model. No technology – not even big data technology - will go or do without a business model – or actually many business models.

The way we use data today is already changing the way we live our life, conduct research, curing diseases, drive our car, run businesses and countries. Some sectors and big enterprises have adopted this world of technology and data, but unfortunately many sectors have not. 

For businesses in general, the main argument is that there will be a paradigm shift from common single and traditional business models to multiple new data-driven business models due to digitalization and data collection.
These business models will contain integrated elements of big data, service, IoT, and digitalization, which are new areas for the businesses who, consequently, need guidance. These topics can be categorized as technology development, business development and business innovation.

What I address in my PhD thesis is:­

How can a data-driven business model framework be developed alongside present business model frameworks for the businesses to gain a competitive advantage?  

Through working with businesses, the aim is to discover the anatomy of data-driven business models, the drivers for data-driven business models and monitor the current approach that companies have towards data-driven business models.

With that knowledge, the research should (with a a technology that has not yet been defined in the project) present a theoretical model, prescriptive methods and normative tools for use in businesses that want/need to use data-driven business models anywhere in their business. 

Rune Aardal Hansen

Today’s production of plastics accounts for more than 300 million tonnes annually, and research estimates that 4 to 12 million tonnes of plastic are entering the oceans every year. The size of the plastic entering the oceans differs from larger macroplastics to microscopic microplastic particles, and the majority of current research on this problem uses known sources and known accumulating zones in the oceans. In public media, these areas are referred to as ‘garbage patches’, and it is difficult to estimate the size and extent of these patches, as it depends on the degree of plastic concentration and the definition of such. Consequently, estimates differ greatly from similar to the size of Texas to larger than Europe or even the North American continent.

Historically, the dominant research focus in relation to microplastic has been on such areas as: occurrence, influence and distribution in the marine environment. However, businesses in many sectors contribute to the problem through their daily operations, e.g. the use of plastics in production, possibly constituting a vital source of microplastics – both directly and indirectly. Thus, more holistic approaches to the subject are needed to establish a foundation for sustainable solution(s) and initiatives possible of driving a new ecological approach, especially as microplastic transcends physical borders and scientific domains.

Consequently, from an outset within the business domain, the objective of the current project is to provide new perspectives on the problem.

Approaching the problem of microplastic from within and across traditional business and social science in combination with an engineering and technology perspective could provide such a new approach and subsequent perspectives on the matter. This is important, as sustainably sound solutions will arise only when a multitude of aspects of the problem are cohesively investigated in depth, thereby allowing these scientific domains to be part of a much-needed solution.

Justina Lydekaityte

Digital innovation in cardboard packaging using printed electronics:
smart interactive packaging towards enhanced consumer experience and product functionality

Before advanced technologies such as nanomaterials, Printed Electronics (PE), or Internet of Things (IoT) came to market, packaging served basic principles to contain, protect, preserve, and inform. However, the growing competitiveness, changes in consumer behavior and demand, emerging wireless and digital technologies have led to the improvement of the primary packaging functions and thereby to the emerge of smart packaging. Generally, the smart packaging incorporates advanced technologies to enhance its main functions and thus is divided into active, intelligent, and interactive packaging. Active and intelligent packaging related to food industry aims to prolong products’ shelf life, improve its quality, and inform the user about its current status. Contrary, interactive packaging extends the traditional communication aspects by triggering a conversation between the package and consumer. Recent advances in PE, AR, and IoT allow packaging to embrace the digital transformation and become network-connected. PE uses nanomaterials, as conductive inks, to produce electronics, as NFC tags, which can be printed on packaging, and thereby it highly increases the design freedom for new applications.

However, the potential of such digital innovation is not yet fully explored, whereas the other smart packaging types, active and intelligent packaging is well-researched and already commercialized for food products. While this packaging ensures improved security and preservation of packed goods, brands are still in need to find better ways to connect with their consumers, to build stronger relationships and prolong consumers’ experience with their products. Especially, when packaging becomes an integral part of the product and is able to create strong emotional and memorable states or reactions. Consequently, new forms of packaging can contribute to retailer’s differentiation and connect in-store and at-home experiences with the brands’ digital marketing activities. The digital capabilities of smart interactive packaging to enhance consumers’ interaction are not well-explored. Researchers already approved packaging as a powerful communication tool for product positioning but did not consider the influence of information and communication technology. Furthermore the majority of researches designed applications for the improvement of logistics operations instead of consumer engagement in-store or at home. In response to this apparent lack of research, this project will aim to identify and examine the potential and capabilities of enabling communication technologies of smart interactive cardboard packaging to enhance consumer’s and product’s experiences at the point of purchase and utilization. More specifically this research will aim to:

  • Establish an overview of enabling communication technologies feasible with smart interactive cardboard packaging that contains durable consumer goods.
  • Develop a system architecture model of Internet of Packaging (IoP) based on a combination of IoT, PE, smart sensors, conductive ink and other network-enabled communication technologies.
  • Conduct an experimental research with a presumptive outcome of a functional or semi-functional prototype of smart interactive packaging.
  • Carry out an experimental research to monitor and track changes of the end user behavior towards designed smart interactive packaging in the selected environment.

Kristian Løbner

The rise of the digital age has led to increased access to new markets and competition from new organizations. The need to stay ahead of the rapidly developing competition is more essential than ever. Academic focus on innovation leadership throughout the 20th century centered on managing innovation in products and services. The past 20 years, academia and practitioners have acknowledged that innovation in the business model is an essential competitive advantage of the 21st century.

In spite of the increased focus on business model innovation, the organizational and leadership parts of business model innovation (BMI) remain poorly understood. Further, scholars have focused mostly on exciting new and disruptive innovation, new market entrants or how incumbents fail to innovate on their existing business models.  There exist only few insights in how continuous BMI could be lead in incumbent businesses. With the urgency of leading BMI in established businesses, there is a need for further guidance, methods and severe empirical evidence.  

Large businesses have experienced massive transformations (both external and internal) in the last few decades. With the growth of the knowledge economy, the number of project-based businesses has grown considerably as a serious trend. With the trends of 'open innovation', 'sustainability' and 'knowledge-sharing', many businesses are operating many business models depending on the specific project. However, research of BMI in project-based businesses s is scarce.

The existing evidence is primarily based on either ex-post studies of the process of BMI or momentary case studies. There is a severe need for more longitudinal studies to coin why some processes succeed in valuable BMI and why some fail.

Based on three longitudinal studies of how BMI is organized in a large incumbent service business, this study contributes with deep insights on:

  • How the managerial drivers and barriers affects business model innovation.
  • How the needed capabilities for conducting BMI successfully can be developed.
  • How to ensure a continuous progress of BMI.

A main result of this study is a tested framework for leading the organization of BMI in large incumbent service businesses.       

Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens

Societal and Business Implications of a Vehicle-to-Grid Transition in the Nordic region 

This PhD project is part of the grant that supports an innovative research project that studies electric mobility in the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) and has a special focus on Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology. See this link.

It relies on a mix of concepts and a mixed-methods approach to explore, from an empirical perspective, the business and social benefits, barriers and policies involved in a Nordic transition to V2G. This is of great importance given the regional climate targets in terms of carbon emission reduction and increased use of renewable energy sources for 2020 and 2050.

From a high level, this project first aims to explore both the promise and the possible pitfalls of a transition to V2G infrastructure in the Nordic region, focusing first on its benefits and then analysing the sociotechnical barriers to the implementation of a V2G transition. Second, it aims to determine the necessary policies and incentives suitable for increasing the commercialisation of V2G automobiles throughout the Nordic region. It thus involves three themes of development: (1) assessing potential, (2) identifying barriers and (3) policy recommendations.

The PhD project started in 2016 and is expected to be completed within a 3-year period.

Eldina Salkanovic

Applying AI-Based Solutions to Avoid Bird Collisions at Wind Parks

The rise in global energy use parallels the ongoing growth and demand of the human population. Due to the rising pressures, which climate change imposes on communities and industries, renewable energy alternatives, such as wind, are sought after to power homes and businesses in a more sustainable manner. Yet, while cleaner air reflects a healthy atmosphere, species diversity and ecological systems are equally important for preserving the balance of natural systems (Windkraft Schonach GmbH 2017). Ornithologists have particularly expressed and published their concerns relating to the threats which wind energy brings to avian species (Windkraft Schonach GmbH 2017). Therefore, species protection issues have arisen since the expansion of wind turbines—particularly, in areas where wind turbines are located in migratory-dense areas with a high population of birds.

Thus, my research aims to address this increasing avian issue. This interdisciplinary undertaking will be accomplished through the lenses of Artificial Intelligence, Ecology, and Multi-Sensor Technologies. The scope of my research is to reduce the quantity of curtailment measures at wind parks with bird-collision avoidance systems already in place; as well as, to save as many birds as possible from an unwelcoming collision with a wind turbine.

Windkraft Schonach GmbH, 2017. Personal Communication.