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Understanding the formative stage of Technological Innovation System development. The case of natural gas as an automotive fuel

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Author Info

  • Roald A.A. Suurs

    ()

  • Marko P. Hekkert

    ()

  • Sander Kieboom
  • Ruud E.H.M. Smits

    ()

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    Abstract

    This study contributes to insights into mechanisms that influence the successes and failures of emerging energy technologies. It is assumed that for an emerging technology to fruitfully develop, it should be fostered by a Technological Innovation System (TIS), which is the network of actors, institutions and technologies in which it is embedded. For an emerging technology a TIS has yet to be built up. The research focuses on the dynamics of this build-up process by mapping the development of seven key activities: so-called system functions. The main contribution revolves around the notion of cumulative causation, or the phenomenon that the build-up of a TIS may accelerate due to system functions reinforcing each other over time. As an empirical basis, an analysis is provided of the historical development of the TIS around automotive natural gas technology in the Netherlands (1970-2007). The results show that this TIS undergoes a gradual build-up in the 1970s, followed by a breakdown in the 1980s and, again, a build-up from 2000-2007. It is shown that, underlying these trends, there are different forms of cumulative causation, here called motors of innovation. The study provides strategic insights for practitioners that aspire to support such motors of innovation.

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    File URL: http://www.geo.uu.nl/isu/pdf/isu0909.pdf
    File Function: Version June 2009
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies in its series Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series with number 09-09.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2009
    Date of revision: Jun 2009
    Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0909

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    Web page: http://www.uu.nl/faculty/geosciences/EN/research/institutesandgroups/researchinstitutes/copernicusinstitute/research/Innovation/Pages/default.aspx

    Related research

    Keywords: functions of technological innovation systems; cumulative causation; automotive natural gas.;

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    1. Sagar, A. D. & Holdren, J. P., 2002. "Assessing the global energy innovation system: some key issues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 465-469, May.
    2. Carlsson, Bo & Jacobsson, Staffan & Holmen, Magnus & Rickne, Annika, 2002. "Innovation systems: analytical and methodological issues," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 233-245, February.
    3. Suurs, Roald A.A. & Hekkert, Marko P., 2009. "Competition between first and second generation technologies: Lessons from the formation of a biofuels innovation system in the Netherlands," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 669-679.
    4. Jacobsson, Staffan & Johnson, Anna, 2000. "The diffusion of renewable energy technology: an analytical framework and key issues for research," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 625-640, July.
    5. Sanden, Bjorn A. & Azar, Christian, 2005. "Near-term technology policies for long-term climate targets--economy wide versus technology specific approaches," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1557-1576, August.
    6. Jacobsson, Staffan & Lauber, Volkmar, 2006. "The politics and policy of energy system transformation--explaining the German diffusion of renewable energy technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 256-276, February.
    7. Negro, Simona O. & Hekkert, Marko P. & Smits, Ruud E., 2007. "Explaining the failure of the Dutch innovation system for biomass digestion--A functional analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 925-938, February.
    8. Hekkert, Marko P. & Hendriks, Franka H. J. F. & Faaij, Andre P. C. & Neelis, Maarten L., 2005. "Natural gas as an alternative to crude oil in automotive fuel chains well-to-wheel analysis and transition strategy development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 579-594, March.
    9. Staffan Jacobsson & Anna Bergek, 2004. "Transforming the energy sector: the evolution of technological systems in renewable energy technology," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(5), pages 815-849, October.
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