Implications for Energy Innovation from the chemical industry
The history of innovation in the chemical industry offers many insights for accelerating energy innovation. In this chapter, we begin by laying out the early history of the chemical industry for an overview of the role innovation has played in its development. We then explore three noteworthy historical experiences. We describe the switch in feedstocks from coal to oil, and briefly analyze two government programs that have attempted to promote innovation: synthetic rubber and synfuels. We take a close look at the role that specialized engineering firms have played in the diffusion of important innovations, and we detail the effect that government policies have had on fostering innovation. In particular, we highlight the role of anti-trust policies, and of policies for protecting intellectual property rights.
We are grateful to Linda Cohen, Rebecca Henderson, Richard Newell and other participants at the NBER meeting, April 2009, Boston for helpful comments, and to Bonnie Nevel and Susan Schaffer for assistance in the preparation of this manuscript. We remain responsible for all remaining errors The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Implications for Energy Innovation from the Chemical Industry, Ashish Arora, Alfonso Gambardella. in Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors, Henderson and Newell. 2011