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Opportunities for and limits to Academics as System builders--The case of realizing the potential of gasified biomass in Austria

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  • Hellsmark, Hans
  • Jacobsson, Staffan

Abstract

Gasified biomass is a technology that has the potential to partially replace fossil fuels for the production of heat, electricity, transport fuels, synthetic natural gas (BioSNG) and chemicals. In the context of climate change, biomass gasification is an attractive technology. It is, however, still in the early phase of its diffusion and much of the knowledge resides in the academic sector and in small companies--the technological innovation system (TIS) is in the process of being formed. Austria is one of the leading European countries in this field and much of the development in Austria can be traced to one prominent individual, Professor Hermann Hofbauer at the Technical University of Vienna. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how and the extent to which an individual academic, Professor Hofbauer, has influenced the formation of a TIS centred on gasified biomass in Austria. We find that his impact is multidimensional and significant but that there is also a frictional and intentional resistance that obstructs the commercialisation of the new technology. These sources of resistance go beyond the ability of an individual system builder to handle. Policy makers, therefore, need to add a strong element of system building activities that interact with and supplement those pursued by Professor Hofbauer.

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  • Hellsmark, Hans & Jacobsson, Staffan, 2009. "Opportunities for and limits to Academics as System builders--The case of realizing the potential of gasified biomass in Austria," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5597-5611, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:12:p:5597-5611
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. van Geenhuizen, Marina & Ye, Qing, 2014. "Responsible innovators: open networks on the way to sustainability transitions," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 28-40.
    2. Negro, Simona O. & Alkemade, Floortje & Hekkert, Marko P., 2012. "Why does renewable energy diffuse so slowly? A review of innovation system problems," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 3836-3846.
    3. Huang, Ping & Negro, Simona O. & Hekkert, Marko P. & Bi, Kexin, 2016. "How China became a leader in solar PV: An innovation system analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 777-789.
    4. Hellsmark, Hans & Jacobsson, Staffan, 2012. "Realising the potential of gasified biomass in the European Union—Policy challenges in moving from demonstration plants to a larger scale diffusion," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 507-518.
    5. Kukk, Piret & Moors, Ellen H.M. & Hekkert, Marko P., 2016. "Institutional power play in innovation systems: The case of Herceptin®," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1558-1569.
    6. Kebede, Kassahun Y. & Mitsufuji, Toshio, 2017. "Technological innovation system building for diffusion of renewable energy technology: A case of solar PV systems in Ethiopia," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 242-253.
    7. Hellsmark, Hans & Frishammar, Johan & Söderholm, Patrik & Ylinenpää, Håkan, 2016. "The role of pilot and demonstration plants in technology development and innovation policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1743-1761.

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