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Promising technologies like bio-engineering catalysts are not always realised, partly because their promise remains diffuse. Recognition of barriers (sunk investments in other technology, existing chemistry-oriented cultures) is important if one wants to stimulate this technology for its expected environmental advantages. A typical innovation journey, with its setbacks and branchings, is sketched, using data from the case of biological desulphurisation of flue gases. Other cases are briefly presented in an appendix. An analysis is presented of problems in realising environmental advantages downstream, of the 'niche' for enzymes in the sectors of fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, nut not in bulk chemicals, and of the dominance of eco-efficiency over greening per se. Now that bio-engineering catalysts are expected to be used more widely, systematic study of such innovation and adoption processes will have direct benefits.

Additional information

Authors: RIP A, University of Twente, Centre for Studies of Science, Technology and Society (NL);TE VELDE R, University of Twente, Centre for Studies of Science, Technology and Society (NL)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 17341 EN (1997) 55pp., FS, free of charge
Availability: Available from the Public Relations and Publications Unit, JRC Ispra, I-21020 Ispra (IT), Fax: +39-332-785818
Record Number: 199711130 / Last updated on: 1997-09-16
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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