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Special Issue "Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Antje Klitkou

NIFU Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, Oslo, Norway
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +47-960-940-13
Fax: +47-22-59-51-01
Interests: Antje Klitkou has research interests in the field of sustainability transitions, covering different sectors of the economy, such as energy, transport and most recently the upcoming bioeconomy
Guest Editor
Dr. Teis Hansen

Department of Human Geography, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +46-46-222-17-58
Interests: Teis Hansen is interested in spatial aspects of innovation processes for sustainability transitions, as well as technology transfer from developed to emerging economies within the field of renewable energy. Additionally, Teis also works on proximity and innovation, the development of low-tech industries, innovation in cross-border regions and Smart Specialisation Strategies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To this Special Issue we invite papers, which address the sustainable transition to a bioeconomy. We define bioeconomy as the set of economic activities related to the production and use of renewable biological feedstock and processes to generate economic outputs in the form of bio-based food, feed, energy, materials, or chemicals, while maintaining our environment, and protecting food quality and biodiversity.

This Special Issue of Sustainability invites theoretical, as well as empirical papers that make a contribution to theory development. We are especially interested in papers examining:

1)   The trade-off between sustainability concerns and economic development in the bioeconomy;

2)   The governance of the bioeconomy—at and across different scales, actor groups and policy areas;

3)   The geography of the bioeconomy, including if and why bioeconomy development is a spatially uneven process;

4)   The challenges of establishing a circular bioeconomy where resources are used and reused in an efficient way; and

5)   Innovation processes in the bioeconomy, in particular examining the extent and importance of collaboration across sectoral boundaries.

Papers selected for this Special Issue are subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Prof. Dr. Antje Klitkou
Dr. Teis Hansen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • bioeconomy
  • sustainability
  • economic development
  • governance
  • geography
  • circular economy
  • innovation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Role of Trials and Demonstration Projects in the Development of a Sustainable Bioeconomy
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 419; doi:10.3390/su9030419
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 March 2017 / Published: 11 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article provides an overview of the literature on demonstration projects and trials, and accounts for how insights drawn from this literature can contribute to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. The article reviews the literature on demonstration projects and trials, covering both
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This article provides an overview of the literature on demonstration projects and trials, and accounts for how insights drawn from this literature can contribute to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. The article reviews the literature on demonstration projects and trials, covering both more broad-based studies on demonstration projects mainly carried out in the US and more specific studies on demonstration projects for energy technologies carried out in Europe, the US, and Japan. The aim of the article is to account for how demonstration projects and trials can contribute to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Influence of Local Governance: Effects on the Sustainability of Bioenergy Innovation
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 406; doi:10.3390/su9030406
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (604 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper deals with processes and outcomes of sustainable bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna. It draws on an on-going research project concerning inclusive innovation in forest-based bioenergy and biogas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy. The goal is to explore how local governance
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This paper deals with processes and outcomes of sustainable bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna. It draws on an on-going research project concerning inclusive innovation in forest-based bioenergy and biogas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy. The goal is to explore how local governance impacts on inclusive innovation processes and triple bottom sustainability of bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna and, ultimately, to contribute to the debate on the bioeconomy. It thus compares the case of biogas and forest-based bioenergy production. The study adopts an analytical framework called Grounded Innovation (GRIP) and the local governance approach. The study uses qualitative methods and particularly semi-structured interviews and governance analysis. The key results show different outcomes on both inclusive innovation and triple bottom-line dimensions. Biogas has not fostered inclusiveness and triple bottom line sustainability benefits, contrary to forest-based bioenergy. The findings indicate that the minor role of local actors, particularly municipalities, in favour of industrial and national interests may jeopardise the sustainability of biobased industries. Besides, policies limited to financial incentives may lead to a land-acquisition rush, unforeseen local environmental effects and exacerbate conflicts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Visions and Expectations for the Norwegian Bioeconomy
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 341; doi:10.3390/su9030341
Received: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (390 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Developing a future bioeconomy has become critical for three main reasons: (1) The need for sustainability of resource use; (2) The growing demand for both food and energy; and (3) The need to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. As Zilberman observes, a
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Developing a future bioeconomy has become critical for three main reasons: (1) The need for sustainability of resource use; (2) The growing demand for both food and energy; and (3) The need to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. As Zilberman observes, a transition to bioeconomy “is a continuing evolutionary process of transition from systems of mining non-renewable resources to farming renewable ones”. Hence, to meet the challenges created by a growing dependence on non-renewable resources, radical changes are needed that involve more than development of or changes within the individual bio-based sectors. In line with emerging attention to the bioeconomy in Europe and elsewhere, great expectations towards the bioeconomy have been launched in high level industry and policy fora, as well as in resource-based economies such as Norway's. Grounded in theories of transition and transition management, this paper discusses the Norwegian biosector's expectations regarding a bioeconomy. Analyses are based on empirical survey data from biosector representatives. Findings suggest that there are clear differences between sectors in motivation for a future bioeconomy. A transition into a complete bioeconomy will demand a system shift and more cross-sectoral integration between these regimes than currently exists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Directionality across Diversity: Governing Contending Policy Rationales in the Transition towards the Bioeconomy
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 206; doi:10.3390/su9020206
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 3 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although the bioeconomy has been embraced by many governments around the world as a way of responding to the grand challenge of climate change, it remains unclear what the bioeconomy is and how it can contribute to achieving these broad policy objectives. The
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Although the bioeconomy has been embraced by many governments around the world as a way of responding to the grand challenge of climate change, it remains unclear what the bioeconomy is and how it can contribute to achieving these broad policy objectives. The aim of this paper is to improve our understanding of whether, and how, the bioeconomy includes contending rationales for governance and policy-making. In order to do this, we apply a typology of three bioeconomy visions onto the policy discourse on the bioeconomy. These visions are (1) a bio-technology vision; (2) a bio-resource vision; and (3) a bio-ecology vision. Based on a discourse analysis of 41 submissions to a public hearing on the development of a bioeconomy strategy in Norway, the paper explores the actors involved in shaping the new bioeconomy and analyses their positions on this emerging field. The paper finds that it is possible to categorise the consultative inputs into these three visions, and also that the bio-resource vision is predominant, which reflects the structure of the national economy. Moreover, the paper reflects upon how the contending visions observed imply negotiations and power struggles, which may hamper directionality in the current socio-technical transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Value Chain Structures that Define European Cellulosic Ethanol Production
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 118; doi:10.3390/su9010118
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 8 January 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2017 / Published: 14 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (584 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Production of cellulosic ethanol (CE) has not yet reached the scale envisaged by the literature and industry. This study explores CE production in Europe to improve understanding of the motivations and barriers associated with this situation. To do this, we conduct a case
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Production of cellulosic ethanol (CE) has not yet reached the scale envisaged by the literature and industry. This study explores CE production in Europe to improve understanding of the motivations and barriers associated with this situation. To do this, we conduct a case study-based analysis of CE production plants across Europe from a global value chain (GVC) perspective. We find that most CE production plants in the EU focus largely on intellectual property and are therefore only at the pilot or demonstration scale. Crescentino, the largest CE production facility in Europe, is also more interested in technology licensing than producing ethanol. Demonstration-scale plants tend to have a larger variety of feedstocks, whereas forestry-based plants have more diversity of outputs. As scale increases, the diversity of feedstocks and outputs diminishes, and firms struggle with feedstock provisioning, global petroleum markets and higher financial risks. We argue that, to increase CE production, policies should consider value chains, promote the wider bio-economy of products and focus on economies of scope. Whereas the EU and its member states have ethanol quotas and blending targets, a more effective policy would be to seek to reduce the risks involved in financing capital projects, secure feedstock provisioning and support a diversity of end products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Transition Governance towards a Bioeconomy: A Comparison of Finland and The Netherlands
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1017; doi:10.3390/su8101017
Received: 2 September 2016 / Revised: 4 October 2016 / Accepted: 6 October 2016 / Published: 13 October 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2482 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In both Finland and The Netherlands strategies are being developed to switch from fossil to green resources in order to tackle the challenges of climate change and resource dependencies and to tap into the economic opportunities that arise. We investigated the similarities and
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In both Finland and The Netherlands strategies are being developed to switch from fossil to green resources in order to tackle the challenges of climate change and resource dependencies and to tap into the economic opportunities that arise. We investigated the similarities and differences in the transition process and governance strategies with respect to the transition towards a bioeconomy in both countries, using transition management as an evaluative lens. The research method involved comparative qualitative case study analysis through action research. We found that the governance approach in The Netherlands focusses on co-creating a long-term vision that informs for short-term action, on facilitating bottom-up regional clusters and promoting radical innovation through cooperation between vested players and frontrunners. Finland adopts a more traditional, top-down governance strategy, focussing on the shorter-term economic opportunities and incremental innovation that keep the overall structure of existing industries intact. We conclude that the Dutch government acts as a facilitator, while the Finnish government acts more as a director of the transition. We recommend that Finland’s governance for the bioeconomy be improved by applying insights from transition management, while the Dutch approach runs the risk of being captured by vested interests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Emergent Imaginaries and Fragmented Policy Frameworks in the Canadian Bio-Economy
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1007; doi:10.3390/su8101007
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 21 September 2016 / Accepted: 29 September 2016 / Published: 10 October 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change means that countries like Canada need to find suitable transition pathways to overcome fossil-fuel dependence; one such pathway is the so-called ‘bio-economy’. The bio-economy is a term used to define an economic system in which biological resources (e.g., plants) form the
[...] Read more.
Climate change means that countries like Canada need to find suitable transition pathways to overcome fossil-fuel dependence; one such pathway is the so-called ‘bio-economy’. The bio-economy is a term used to define an economic system in which biological resources (e.g., plants) form the basis of production and production processes. For example, it would involve the replacement of petroleum energy, inputs, chemicals, and products with bioenergy, biological inputs, bio-chemicals, and bio-products. A number of countries and jurisdictions have established policy strategies in order to promote and support the development of a bio-economy, exemplified by the European Union where the bio-economy represents a key pillar in its broader Horizon 2020 strategy. Other countries, like Canada, do not yet have an over-arching bio-economy strategy, but have a series of diverse, and often competing, policy visions and frameworks. It is useful to analyse countries like Canada in order to understand how these policy visions and policy frameworks are co-constituted, and what this might mean for the development of an over-arching bio-economy strategy. This raises a number of questions: How is the bio-economy imagined by different social actors? How are these imaginaries and policy frameworks co-produced? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
Open AccessArticle Research and Development Strategy in Biological Technologies: A Patent Data Analysis of Japanese Manufacturing Firms
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 351; doi:10.3390/su8040351
Received: 24 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (923 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biological technology allows us to invent new medical approaches, create effective food production methods and reserves and develop new materials for industrial production. There is a diversity of biological technology types, and different technologies have different priorities for invention. This study examines the
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Biological technology allows us to invent new medical approaches, create effective food production methods and reserves and develop new materials for industrial production. There is a diversity of biological technology types, and different technologies have different priorities for invention. This study examines the factors that are important for the invention of biology-related technologies in Japan using patent application data and a decomposition analysis framework. As the results show, patent applications related to biochemistry and biotechnology increased until 1995 because of the expanded scale of R&D activities and the high priority assigned to biological technology. However, the number of patent applications stagnated after 1995, because the importance of biochemistry, especially waste-gas treatment technologies, decreased. Additionally, patent applications for medicines and disease-related technologies increased rapidly from 1971 to 1995. The primary determinant of rapid growth is an increase in research priority, especially among firms in the chemical industry whose technologies are related to supplemental foods and foods with health-promoting benefits. Finally, patent applications involving foodstuff- and agriculture-related technologies increased from 1971 to 1995 due to increased R&D and the increased priority of biological technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)

Review

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Open AccessReview What Is the Bioeconomy? A Review of the Literature
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 691; doi:10.3390/su8070691
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 14 July 2016 / Accepted: 15 July 2016 / Published: 19 July 2016
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (1056 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The notion of the bioeconomy has gained importance in both research and policy debates over the last decade, and is frequently argued to be a key part of the solution to multiple grand challenges. Despite this, there seems to be little consensus concerning
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The notion of the bioeconomy has gained importance in both research and policy debates over the last decade, and is frequently argued to be a key part of the solution to multiple grand challenges. Despite this, there seems to be little consensus concerning what bioeconomy actually implies. Consequently, this paper seeks to enhance our understanding of what the notion of bioeconomy means by exploring the origins, uptake, and contents of the term “bioeconomy” in the academic literature. Firstly, we perform a bibliometric analysis that highlights that the bioeconomy research community is still rather fragmented and distributed across many different fields of science, even if natural and engineering sciences take up the most central role. Secondly, we carry out a literature review that identifies three visions of the bioeconomy. The bio-technology vision emphasises the importance of bio-technology research and application and commercialisation of bio-technology in different sectors of the economy. The bio-resource vision focuses on processing and upgrading of biological raw materials, as well as on the establishment of new value chains. Finally, the bio-ecology vision highlights sustainability and ecological processes that optimise the use of energy and nutrients, promote biodiversity, and avoid monocultures and soil degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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