Harvard University

To examine the role of technology and knowledge spillovers in the development of novel clean energy technologies

  • Amount $559,435
  • City Cambridge, MA
  • Investigator Venkatesh Narayanamurti
  • Year 2018
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

Innovation in the energy sector often comes from unexpected places, utilizing research on problems or issues that are not directly energy related but that turn out to have application in the energy sector. Understanding these “knowledge spillovers,” as they are called, is critical to gaining a complete picture about how new energy technologies evolve over time. This grant funds a project led by Venkatesh Narayanamurti of Harvard University, Laura Diaz Anadon of the University of Cambridge, and Gabriel Chan of the University of Minnesota to investigate how knowledge spillovers contributed to three different low-carbon technologies—solar photovoltaics, lithium-ion batteries, and solid state lighting. The team will analyze patent data from the PATSTAT database to determine which innovations from other fields have led to significant advancements for the three aforementioned technologies. The researchers will then supplement this patent citation analysis with a bibliometric analysis of academic publications and with additional expert interviews and consultations. The team will then use existing engineering cost models to identify how various innovations from outside the energy sector contributed to cost reductions for each of the three technologies under study. In addition to academic research, the research team will prepare shorter commentaries and policy briefs aimed at informing policymakers and other nonspecialists about research results.

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