Published in PNAS, September 14, 2021. Access the publication.
Researchers lack the tools for quantitatively evaluating the impact of their research on technology costs, especially when those technologies comprise multiple components or when the component costs are highly uncertain. We propose a suite of tools to aid in evaluating technology platforms, setting system- and component-level research targets and identifying high-impact innovation trajectories. These tools are applicable to any technology composed of multiple components whose performance or cost will benefit from innovation, but they are especially valuable for membrane systems in which the high interdependence in components amplifies or dampens the effects of innovation in nonintuitive ways.