466023 An Enabling Start-up Support System for CO2 Utilisation: A Case Study on Barriers to Commercial Success

Friday, November 18, 2016: 9:00 AM
Continental 3 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Marvin Kant1,2, Arno Zimmermann3, Jan Kratzer1 and Jochen Norwig4, (1)Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (2)enCO2re Programme, EIT Climate-KIC, Berlin, Germany, (3)Reaction Engineering, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany, (4)Catalysis, Covestro Deutschland AG, Leverkusen, Germany

The topic of this paper is sustainable entrepreneurship focussing on ‘emerging Davids’ (Hockerts, Wüstenhagen 2010) and their endeavour to bring CO2 utilisation technologies to the market.

The problem is that a proof-of-concept on a technically relevant scale is essential for new technologies in order to attract external stakeholders such as investors, customers and other partners. These proofs of a scale-up production for CO2 utilisation technologies are ranging from demonstrators over pilot production facilities to large commercial plants and are most of the times very capital intensive. This capital intensity often leads to the point that new technology ventures fail to successfully commercialise their products. This results in a lack of CO2 utilisation start-ups and little radical innovation to tackle current societal challenges like resource depletion and climate change. Recent events such as the COP21 in Paris and the G7 summit in 2015 may be promising means in order to boost sustainable-oriented innovation by investing more and more money in clean technologies over the next decades, but an effective allocation and a sophisticated design for a support system are still relatively unexplored.

In order to give managerial recommendation on the design of a favourable support system for capital intensive CO2 utilisation technologies a better understanding on the barriers to those innovation is necessary. A broad portfolio of CO2 utilisation technologies are in scope of this contribution; ranging from chemicals production (e.g. intermediates and specialty chemicals from CO2) over CO2 mineralisation (e.g. building materials from CO2) to CO2 to fuels (Hendriks et al. 2013). This work builds on a multilevel perspective from current barrier research (Hueske, Guenther 2015) to investigate all relevant barriers to commercial success. The authors choose a dynamic capabilities approach (Eisenhardt, Martin 2000) in combination with stakeholder theory (Freeman 2004) to analyse both internal as well as external barriers.

A exploratory multiple case study approach (Eisenhardt, Graebner 2007; Yin 2013; Eisenhardt 1989) was used to investigate the CO2 utilisation start-up landscape worldwide. CO2 utilisation may not only be a door-opener for large emission abatement technologies but is also a potent resource efficiency technology by feeding CO2 back into the carbon-based economic system (Styring et al. 2014; Naims et al. 2015). A total of 20 semi-structured interviews have been carried out, transcribed, coded (Strauss, Corbin 2015), and triangulated with other available data sources during a 5-month-period in 2015/2016.

As a result a multi-level barrier model for CO2 utilisation technologies was developed to shed light on the specific barriers and to identify factors to overcome these barriers. Furthermore, this article contributes to the future success of CO2 utilisation technologies by providing clear advice how to design a dedicated support system and thereby bridging the ‘valley of death’: the phase between research and commercialisation.

This work is funded by the EIT Climate-KIC enCO2re programme – ‘enabling CO2 re-utilisation’.

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