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Plausible scenarios for microturbine technology development: case study of an Iranian national technological program

Reza Hafezi (Science and Technology Futures Studies, National Research Institute for Science Policy, Tehran, Iran)
Ahmad Borumand Kakhki (National Research Institute for Science Policy, Tehran, Iran and Bonyad Tose’e Farda (BTF institute), Tehran, Iran)
Maziar Attari (Department of Management, Science and Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran)
Zohreh Besharati Rad (Center for Electrical Energy Innovation Development, Tehran, Iran)
Ashraf Sadat Pasandideh (Management and Social Science Department, Niroo Research Institute, Tehran, Iran)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 15 December 2020

Issue publication date: 24 May 2021




Many devices needed electrical power to work, thus, major energy carriers such as oil and gas were used to generate electrical power via converter mechanisms and special technologies. The microturbine is a developed technology that is remarkable for its relatively high performance and ability to use several types of fuels. Microturbines are economically feasible because of the production of combined heat and power and small-scale applicability. This study aims to investigate microturbine technology development to support modern energy access in a developing country (i.e. Iran).


This paper presents a technology foresight methodology to create plausible futures of microturbine development in Iran when the country faces different driving forces and uncertainties. On other hand, the paper deals with a theoretical question: how to select appropriate foresight methodology? A procedure is proposed, which equipped the research team to select appropriate method combinations based on Popper’s diamond. Finally, the selected methodology includes defining focal issues environmental scanning and patent analysis aimed at developing five plausible scenarios for microturbine development future in Iran and creating shared visions among policymakers.


This paper proposed a series of scenarios on the path to developing microturbine technology. The scenario development logic in a participatory way contains a common four-quarter technique that attempts to depict scenarios based on two critical uncertainties inclusive energy price and technology obsolescence, which will shape the future. Also, a scenario is presented to describe a wild card that can disturb the desired futures. Such materials help decision-makers to policies under plausible conditions that guarantee a robust policy basket.


The originality of this paper can be studied based on two aspects, first, the methodology that provides a systematic method selections procedure in an emerging complex technology development program. Second, from the practical aspect, this paper is one of the very first attempts to manage the microturbine technology development program. Then, results are used to feed the policy-making process in Iran.



The authors would also like to show our gratitude to the consultants and participants in the foresight process for sharing their pearls of wisdom with us during the course of this research (Serpak, Tavakkoli, Salimi, Mostafavi, Jafarian, Poursheikhali, Asghari, Karimpour Lalehdashti, Saken, Shafee, Saeidi Moghadam and RezaeiNik).


Hafezi, R., Borumand Kakhki, A., Attari, M., Besharati Rad, Z. and Pasandideh, A.S. (2021), "Plausible scenarios for microturbine technology development: case study of an Iranian national technological program", Foresight, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 327-352.



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