Simona Negro: Dynamics of Technological Innovation Systems. The Case of Biomass Energy. Utrecht 2007 (Nederlandse Geografische Studies 356). 166 S.It is rather unusual to start a review looking at the author's biography. In this case, it will be necessary. Milan-born SIMONA NEGRO visited the European School in Munich/Germany, graduated as Master in Chemistry in Bath/UK and worked as technical analyst for Shell in a drilling fluid team. In 2002, she graduated in Environmental Management in Amsterdam with her thesis in the field of "Energy Policy in Italy". The reviewed thesis is a result of her PhD project at the Innovation Studies Group of the Copernicus Institute at Utrecht University. Her thesis is published in the Netherlands Geographical Studies, which is a little surprising: a geographical approach or even a geographical perspective is not included in her work.
NEGRO uses a process approach developed at the Minnesota Innovation Research Programme, looking at significant events in a timeline that influence technical innovation systems (TIS). TIS are defined as a network of agents interacting in a specific technology area under a particular institutional infrastructure to generate, diffuse and utilise technology. NEGRO intends to analyse how the process study approach can be applied to TIS and how system functions describe the dynamics of TIS. Moreover, she analyses what functional patterns tell us about the dynamics of biomass innovation systems and what can be learned in order to accelerate the diffusion of biomass technology.
After sound and informative chapters about theory, methodology and biomass energy concepts, NEGRO discusses the results of four case studies dealing with different biomass technologies in the Netherlands and Germany. In chapter 6, different activity patterns of the Netherlands and Germany could be presented as in chapters 5, 7 and 8, where good charts summarised the respective activities. When comparing the biomass digestion in both countries, different agrarian potentials or production structures in the Netherlands and Germany are not discussed, and this could be the reason for different innovation systems, too.
The relatively short text gives an excellent overview about technical innovation systems in general and biomass innovation systems in particular. It is a good recommendation for people who work about biomass techniques in the Netherlands and Germany. The content is situated in political economy or economic politics, and has nearly no geographical implications. But using NEGRO's work and the TIS approach for a spatial analysis from the perspective of economic geography could be a very interesting topic, not only for biomass, but for all renewable energy concepts.
Autor: Frank Schüssler