GREENFLEET analysed opportunities and challenges associated with a transition towards low- or zero-carbon technologies within coastal shipping in Norway. Various barriers (technology, economy, culture, etc.) make 'sustainability transitions' complex and lengthy processes. Such transitions are thus not only dependent on new technologies but also on organizational, contextual or systemic factors, like established 'rules of the game', new technology development conditions, and market demands and uncertainties.
GREENFLEET was funded by the Research Council of Norway with additional funding from the Norwegian Coastal Administration. The project was led by SINTEF Digital (Department of Technology Management), and done in close collaboration with NTNU (Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management), University of Oslo (TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture), Lund University (Department of Human Geography) and Chalmers University (Department of Technology Management and Economics). A reference panel with members from the Federation of Norwegian Industries, Norwegian Shipowner's Association, NCE Maritime Cleantech, Norwegian Coastal Administration, Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Norwegian Maritime Authority, Enova, Bellona and DNV GL will contribute importantly to the project.
With a 'technological innovation systems' (TIS) perspective at its core, strengths and weaknesses of three low- or zero-carbon energy technologies (battery-electric, biofuels, hydrogen), as well as hybrids of these have been analysed. Each of the focal technologies constitute a TIS with differing degrees of maturity and complexity. Development and maturation of TIS is contingent of: 1) Knowledge development and diffusion, 2) Influence on the direction of search, 3) Market formation, 4) Resource mobilization, 5) Legitimation, 6) Entrepreneurial experimentation and 7) Development of external economies.
Empirical analysis was based on different data sources. This included more than 75 in-depth interviews with different actors in the sector, and a comprehensive survey targeting Norwegian shipowners. Comprehensive document analyis and participatory observation at various events were other important methods employed.
GREENFLEET has contributed new empirical and conceptual insights about sustainability transitions in general and within shipping in particular. Key findings include that there are substantial differences between technologies in terms of innovation system strengths and weaknesses. The project also identified large differences between segments within shipping regarding drivers and barriers for a technological shift. The reasons for these differences are many, and relate to firm-level factors and various framework conditions, market dynamics and policies that influence different segments of shipping in different ways. Conceptually, GREENFLEET has contributed for instance to enhanced understanding of transitions in hard-to-abate mature sectors, sectoral couplings, and interaction between emerging and established technologies.
As of October 2021, GREENFLEET has produced five scientific articles in peer-reviewed international journals, one book chapter, a report, and two master thesis. Several manuscripts have been submitted to different journals and book chapters, and it is expected that a minimum of fifteen articles will be delivered by the project (including work co-funded by other projects). Many researches (including four postdocs) have been involved in GREENFLEET, which has also had synergies with other projects and the research centres FME NTRANS and INTRANSIT. The project has also served as a platform for network building, new project applications and collaboration both nationally and internationally.
A 'green shift' in the maritime shipping sector (MSS) refers to a transition from currently dominant fossil-fuel based energy solutions (i.e. diesel, crude oil) to low- or zero-carbon (LoZeC) energy technologies and fuels. Emission reductions in the MSS as a result of a transition to sustainable fuels and technologies is important for Norway to reach its 40% emission reduction target by 2030. It is however widely acknowledged that 'sustainability transitions' in mature and complex sectors such as transport are lengthy processes with multiple obstacles.
To analyse the development, implementation and diffusion of LoZeC technologies in the MSS, we employ the technological innovation systems (TIS) framework as our main conceptual apparatus. Drawing on the wider sustainability transitions literature as well as perspectives from organizational and innovation theory and strategic management, GREENFLEET will make scientific contributions to understanding how TIS development is influenced by contexts and agency. To provide a better understanding of how new technologies can be implemented in the Norwegian MSS and how the industry can potentially benefit from innovation and new value creation GREENFLEET thus employs an interdisciplinary approach. Our mixed-methods research design includes interviews, document analysis, case studies, a firm survey, context analysis and foresight workshop.
Project work will be conducted in close collaboration with a user panel with key private and public stakeholders in the Norwegian MSS. Knowledge generated through GREENFLEET will help industry actors identify and exploit opportunities for innovation and value creation associated with the green maritime shift, provide decision makers with a more holistic understanding of the interplay between innovation processes, industry dynamics, policy instruments and framework conditions, and provide policy advice on how to facilitate and nurture necessary innovation and transformation processes.