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How long does innovation and commercialisation in the energy sectors take? Historical case studies of the timescale from invention to widespread commercialisation in energy supply and end use technology

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  • Gross, Robert
  • Hanna, Richard
  • Gambhir, Ajay
  • Heptonstall, Philip
  • Speirs, Jamie

Abstract

Recent climate change initiatives, such as ‘Mission Innovation’ launched alongside the Paris Agreement in 2015, urge redoubled research into innovative low carbon technologies. However, climate change is an urgent problem – emissions reductions must take place rapidly throughout the coming decades. This raises an important question: how long might it take for individual technologies to emerge from research, find market opportunities and make a tangible impact on emissions reductions? Here, we consider historical evidence for the time a range of energy supply and energy end-use technologies have taken to emerge from invention, diffuse into the market and reach widespread deployment. We find considerable variation, from 20 to almost 70 years. Our findings suggest that the time needed for new technologies to achieve widespread deployment should not be overlooked, and that innovation policy should focus on accelerating the deployment of existing technologies as well as research into new ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Gross, Robert & Hanna, Richard & Gambhir, Ajay & Heptonstall, Philip & Speirs, Jamie, 2018. "How long does innovation and commercialisation in the energy sectors take? Historical case studies of the timescale from invention to widespread commercialisation in energy supply and end use technolo," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 682-699.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:123:y:2018:i:c:p:682-699
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.08.061
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    Cited by:

    1. Steffen S. Bettin, 2020. "Electricity infrastructure and innovation in the next phase of energy transition—amendments to the technology innovation system framework," Review of Evolutionary Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 371-395, November.
    2. Bauwens, Thomas & Hekkert, Marko & Kirchherr, Julian, 2020. "Circular futures: What Will They Look Like?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 175(C).
    3. Jiří Jaromír Klemeš & Petar Sabev Varbanov & Paweł Ocłoń & Hon Huin Chin, 2019. "Towards Efficient and Clean Process Integration: Utilisation of Renewable Resources and Energy-Saving Technologies," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(21), pages 1-1, October.

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