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Innovation dynamics in resource efficiency

Presentation held at the DIME Final Conference, 6-8 April 2011, Maastricht
: Ostertag, Katrin; Sartorius, Christian; Tercero Espinoza, Luis A.

2011, 17 pp.
Dynamics of Institutions & Markets in Europe (DIME Final Conference) <2011, Maastricht>
Fraunhofer ISI ()
innovation dynamics; patent analysis; resource efficiency; raw material; recycling

Using raw materials more efficiently is a basic way to strengthen an industry's position as a global competitor. At the same time, conserving resources also makes an important contribution to sustainability. In the face of growing demand for raw materials on the one hand, and increasing environmental pressures on the other hand, a high degree of innovation in resource efficiency is required to master these challenges. This paper analyses the dynamics of technology development in resource efficiency comparing three different technological strategies, i. e. 'material savings', 'durability' and 'recycling'. Based on patent data, we compare innovation dynamics between technology fields and characterize the knowledge base of selected countries with respect to resource efficiency. Our findings indicate that, on a global scale for resource efficiency as a whole, the number of patent applications is growing slightly faster than patent applications in general. However, patent applications in 'recycling' are stagnating or growing only very slowly. For Germany, this is contrasted by a perceived high performance of the recycling economy. In a second step, the paper takes a closer look at the possible reasons behind this discrepancy in Germany using the heuristics of the (technological) innovation system approach