Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2016/27: Technological innovation systems for biorefineries – A review of the literature

Fredric Bauer (), Lars Coenen (), Teis Hansen (), Kes McCormick () and Yuliya Voytenko Palgan ()
Additional contact information
Fredric Bauer: Department of Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Postal: Sweden
Lars Coenen: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Teis Hansen: Department of Human Geography, Lund University, Postal: Sweden
Kes McCormick: IIIEE, Lund University, Postal: Sweden
Yuliya Voytenko Palgan: IIIEE, Lund University, Postal: Sweden

Abstract: The concept of a bioeconomy can be understood as an economy where the basic building blocks for materials, chemicals and energy are derived from renewable biological resources. Biorefineries are considered an integral part of the development towards a future sustainable bioeconomy. The purpose of this literature review is to synthesize current knowledge about how biorefinery technologies are being developed, deployed, and diffused, and to identify actors, networks and institutions relevant for these processes. A number of key findings can be obtained from the literature. First, investing more resources in R&D will not help to enable biorefineries to cross the ‘valley of death’ towards greater commercial investments. Second, while the importance and need for entrepreneurship and the engagement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is generally acknowledged, there is no agreement how to facilitate conditions for entrepreneurs and SMEs to enter into the field of biorefineries. Third, visions for biorefinery technologies and products have focused very much on biofuels and bioenergy with legislation and regulation playing an instrumental role in creating a market for these products. But there is a clear need to incentivize non-energy products to encourage investments in biorefineries. Finally, policy support for biorefinery developments and products are heavily intertwined with wider discussions around legitimacy and social acceptance.

Keywords: bioeconomy; biorefineries; biorefinery technology; technological innovation systems

JEL-codes: L73; O33; Q23; Q55

22 pages, October 19, 2016

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