The contribution of local experiments and the negotiation process of field-level learning in emerging (niche) technologies.

Original By:

Rob P. J. M. Raven

Eva Heiskanen

Raimo Lovio

Mike Hodson

Bettina Brohmann


Summarized by: Robert-Jan Vos


The writers think it is interesting to investigate the implementation of biogas projects in Europe because it is on the verge of a breakthrough since all the ingredients are there (conducting research, starting development and deployment projects, providing financial resources, developing new knowledge infrastructures, adjusting legal and regulatory frameworks, and finding early niche markets). The writers want to find out how to create this breakthrough, because many innovations never leave the lab our showroom.


A vital role in here is the working of regimes. Regimes make engineers oblivious for radical variations.  They basically are costumes and norms (we have been doing this for x years, it works (to a certain extend) so way would we change it? They enable and constrain social-technical development and adaptation.


For radical idea’s to have a chance of success they need to be partly shielded from the regime (think of subsidies or a loose approach to current laws). Radical ideas however are not created out of nothing, but build on a base of prior studies. For success it is always important to create according to local circumstances, so called articulation. This doesn’t mean al studies become copies of each other’s. They become variations of a generic design, specifically designed to the need of the local context, providing new lessons and information.


The initials expectations can be described as project vision. The visions and goals outline the boundaries and they are a starting point for building a network. The project visions are fluid things. They mutate as more actors are involved as they try to align the different expectations by formal and informal processes. For this two case studies drawn from a meta-analysis of 27 new energy projects. The two case studies chosen are ‘Bioenergy village Jühnde’ and ‘Västeräs biogas project’. They are both considered to be successful projects from management and stakeholder’s perspective. They are successful because both adapted to the local situation and worked together with many actors creating benefits for all of them.


In essence they are the same (combusting bio base materials for creating energy), but both have a total different local situation. Västeräs is in a suburban context and uses local garbage to create energy for heating and making biofuel as were Jühnde is in a rural context, creating a small energy independent community and strengthening the local economy and society.


The writers also tried to draw lessons out of this for on a global scale, this is however is on this research alone not possible.



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