Low-carbon reorientation in steel, oil refining and chemical industries

IDRIC Project 7.6

 
University of Sussex
The University of Manchester
Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

Background

The steel, oil refining, and chemical industries account for about 40% of UK industrial GHG emissions. Industrial reorientation towards low-carbon technologies is challenging because incumbent firms in these industries are locked into existing technologies, skills, and business models. Additionally, incumbent firms are reluctant to make large low-carbon capital expenditures, because this may weaken their position in cut-throat international competition.

Prof Frank Geels

Prof Frank Geels

Principal Investigator
Manchester Institute of Innovation Research
The University of Manchester

Project Team

University of Sussex:

Prof Benjamin Sovacool
Dr Julian Gregory

Aim

Combining insights from two literatures (innovation studies and organisation theory), this project will analyse both the resistance to change in the steel, oil refining, and chemical industries, and the process of low-carbon reorientation, which is conceptualised as a gradual process that proceeds through several phases: a) defensive hedging and incremental improvements in existing technology (e.g. energy efficiency), b) diversification and utilisation of best available technology (e.g. CHP, heat recovery), c) full reorientation towards disruptive innovations (e.g. CCUS, fuel switching to biomass or hydrogen). Analysing industry journals, policy documents, expert interviews and secondary sources (e.g. academic publications, consultancy reports), this project will investigate the barriers and drivers of low-carbon reorientation in each industry, what reorientation phase each industries is, and what explains differences and similarities.

Research will focus on:

  • Petrochemicals
  • Steel industry
  • Oil refining

Meet the Team

 

Team 1

Prof Benjamin Sovacool

Prof Benjamin Sovacool

University of Sussex

Team 3

Julian Gregory

University of Sussex

Team 1

Prof Benjamin Sovacool

Prof Benjamin Sovacool

University of Sussex

Team 3

Julian Gregory

University of Sussex

Planned Outputs