Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

Other reports in this collection

10.2.7 Cost and Potential

The fossil fuel-producing industries are quite mature and their technologies are well developed. Biomass and small-scale renewables have potential in niche markets but generally cannot compete with fossil fuels on a direct cost basis. A serious obstacle is the lack of inclusion of external costs regarding social, environmental, and even indirect economic gains which can affect country trade balance involving hard currency for developing countries and CEITs (Moreira and Goldemberg, 1999).

Fossil fuel technology is readily available in most instances from commercial and governmental sources and can be, in most cases, readily licensed. For example, technology to catalytically remove wax from lubricating oil was developed by an oil company (Hydrocarbon Asia,1994). This technology replaced the costly and energy intensive solvent dewaxing process and reduced energy consumption and therefore CO2 emissions by about 85%. This technology is now used both in developed and developing countries. In some countries, to facilitate technology transfers, this technology is offered through a partnership with local institutions. This is one of many technologies that together can result in significant improvement in energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions.

Deployment of new technology, improvement of operating efficiencies, and other best practices to reduce GHG emissions are currently driven primarily by economic opportunity. However, developing countries are not always aware of the opportunities, and education and awareness programs should be encouraged. In the energy supply sector, economic, educational and institutional barriers, rather than technology availability, are more apt to be the cause for the failure to transfer technology.

Other reports in this collection