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Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1152;

How to Assess Market Readiness for an Innovative Solution: The Case of Heat Recovery Technologies for SMEs

SDU Innovation and Design Engineering, Mads Clausen Institute, University of Southern Denmark, S√łnderborg 6400, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Beatriz Junquera
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-innovation and Competitiveness)
Full-Text   |   PDF [228 KB, uploaded 9 November 2016]


The uptake of solutions that increase energy efficiency is significantly lower for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is due to several barriers, among which legislation, motivation, finance and other resources play a large role. In this paper, we describe a framework of market readiness and use it to assess the asymmetry between existing solutions and opportunities in the market. The aim is to identify which steps can be taken in order to introduce more energy optimizations into SMEs, and who should be taking those steps. More specifically, we explore how four Danish SMEs, in different parts of the value chain in the food processing industry, view energy efficiency improvements, focusing on the potential reuse of waste heat, along with what they consider important for taking on such projects. The findings show that while the companies operate very differently, they share common motivations and barriers when it comes to energy efficiency. Based on these findings, this paper argues that the biggest advancements are not to be made within the SMEs, but partly through the legislation that affects the financial benefits of energy improvement solutions, and through the marketing approach that solution suppliers take towards their potential customers when addressing the inherently individual needs of SMEs. View Full-Text
Keywords: readiness level; TRL; SME; energy efficiency; waste heat recovery readiness level; TRL; SME; energy efficiency; waste heat recovery
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Solberg Hjorth, S.; Brem, A.M. How to Assess Market Readiness for an Innovative Solution: The Case of Heat Recovery Technologies for SMEs. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1152.

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