Creating a Beneficial Human Powered Vehicle; The Effects of Government Policy on the Progression of Sustainable Energy Technologies

Flynn, Joseph, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Smith, Natasha, EN-Mech/Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Elliott, Travis, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

In the modern world, technological innovation is typically viewed through the lens of tangible political, social, and economic causes and effects. In the energy sector, technological progress is centered around improving renewability and reducing negative environmental impacts. This social consensus on the desired direction of energy-related technological progress acts in conjunction with economic and governmental forces to shape innovation.
The technical project presented in this paper seeks to develop a human powered vehicle that can reasonably cut down on the use of combustion powered vehicles. The vehicle will be purely propelled by human-generated power. The challenge is to maximize the efficiency and practicality of the inherently sustainable and renewable energy source of human power.
The STS research topic seeks to analyse the effects of governmental policy on technological innovation in the energy sector. Governmental policy here involves the incentivizing or disincentivizing of certain technologies in order to improve energy renewability and environmental sustainability. These types of policies have a variety of impacts on the progression of the energy sector as well as on the various stakeholders and social groups involved. This analysis will be conducted through the STS framework of the Coproduction of Science and Social Order. The theory of the Coproduction of Science and Social Order stipulates that society and technology are ‘co-produced’ and shaped by each other (Co-production, 2020). In the energy sector, the development of governmental policy and the implementation of technologies are unavoidably determined by each other. A realization and analysis of this interconnectivity is required in order to determine whether or not governmental involvement in the energy sector is a net positive.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Co-production, Sustainable, Vehicle, Energy

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Natasha Smith
STS Advisor: Travis Elliott
Technical Team Members: Trevor Marchhart, Skyler Moon, Kavi Patel, Riley Roe, Ryder Sadler, Lauren Weis

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