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Technological paradigms and transition paths : the case of energy technologies


The project examines how a general transition away from technologies involving the emission of greenhouse gases may be effected.

The study assumes that the policy problem of moving away from hydrocarbon-based technologies and the associated green house gas emissions is a matter of changing from one major technological paradigm to another. A "technological paradigm" refers to the whole complex of scientific knowledge, engineering practices, process technologies, infrastructure, product characteristics, skills and procedures, which make up the totality of a technology.

The project refines what is known about large-scale technological shifts, and applies the results to the policy problems involved in the change of basic energy technologies.

The project consists of three parts :

i) a theoretical component conceptualizing the paradigm shifts;

ii) a historical component describing past paradigm shifts in the use of energy technologies, likely factors involved in the role of public policy ;

ii) an applied component which analyses the diffusion paths of new environment-friendlier energy technologies and explores policy measures to encourage this.

The project identifies the elements of the policy required to bring about a shift from green house gas emitting technologies and thus helps to illuminate one of the components necessary for the transition to sustainability.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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49,Tongersestraat 49

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Participants (2)