How does knowledge development and diffusion influence the innovation system of biorefinery technologies?
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Biorefineries have the potential of becoming an important in the future European energy and production system. They can contributes to policy objectives on climate change, energy security and green growth as it is the only C-rich material besides of fossil resources. However, the large potential of biorefineries does not automatically lead to a large share of biorefineries in future energy and production systems. Recent insights in innovation studies suggest that the success chances of technological innovations are to a large extent determined by the innovation system, the systems that develops, commercializes and diffuses technology. The influence of network formation on the innovation system of biochemical biomass conversion technologies for biorefineries are analysed in this research. A TIS approach combined with methods from social network analysis is used to analyse knowledge development and diffusion in the period between 2002 and 2013 in joint European research projects in the sixth and seventh framework projects. The focus is on how these two key innovation processes influence the innovation system with the objective to gain insight in the dynamics of these two innovation processes and to analyse the relationship between the structure of the system in terms of its components and the functioning of the system in terms of its key innovation processes. Based on this analysis, a number of interaction patterns for the development and diffusion of knowledge with other important innovation processes were found. These two functions fulfil important roles in young innovation systems, but in order for the system to move to the next phase, the presence of favourable markets seems to be a key requirement. This research emphasized the importance of network formation. The structure of these networks is an important determinant for the flow of knowledge through the networks. Next to facilitating knowledge flows, networks fulfil other important function in emerging innovation systems: they enable organisations to attract human capital and granted certain key actors power to influence the direction of future developments.