Yesterday and Tomorrow of the Palm Oil Biodiesel : A Functional Analysis of the Biofuel Technological Innovation System in Malaysia
Hosseinzadeh, Maziar (2013) Yesterday and Tomorrow of the Palm Oil Biodiesel : A Functional Analysis of the Biofuel Technological Innovation System in Malaysia. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)
The world needs energy everyday more than yesterday. It depends heavily on fossil fuels for satisfying this need, but these resources create environmental problems and will deplete one day. Biofuels are a suitable substitute and Malaysia has great potentials for developing them. However, after a short-lived promising start, the biodiesel (palm oil methyl ester) industry of Malaysia is facing a crisis now. Instead of using the neo-classical approach and proposing policy interventions based on traditional market failure rationale (Bergek et al, 2008a), a different framework known as “functional analysis of technological innovation systems” is used in this study to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of this industry in terms of its fulfilment of the seven critical functions which are necessary for the generation and commercialization of a product. Under this framework, a general picture of the biodiesel innovation system of Malaysia in terms of its actors, networks and institutions is presented in this research. In addition, the development of this innovation system is studied by utilizing “event history analysis”. In the next step, the functional pattern of this innovation system in its different historical phases is evaluated and the inducement and blocking mechanisms affecting the functionality of this sector are discussed. Accordingly, in order to eliminate the major blocking mechanisms, two main suggestions for its improvement, namely changing raw materials and changing the applications of palm oil methyl ester, are offered. These suggestions draw on the main strength of this innovation system (that is, its ability in fulfilling the “knowledge development and diffusion” function) to achieve a situation in which all the seven functions are more or less fulfilled. As the functional approach predicts, such an innovation system has a great chance of success.
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