Biomass boom or bubble?: a longitudinal study on expectation dynamics

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Early research, development and demonstration of technologies tend to be strongly driven by expectations of the technology, as in this stage the technological and economic performance of technologies is poor. Our main interest is in the longitudinal development of these expectations. This perspective pays more attention to periods before and after hype, highlighting where expectations are coming from and how they are disappearing. As an empirical case we studied advanced biomass gasification. The technology has been at the forefront of developments in energy-from-biomass since the late 1970s. It received recent interest of several innovation scholars, however the role of expectations remained underexposed. We reconstructed two hype-disappointment cycles and a period of more gradual and contested development. The approach offers insight in how development over the different periods relate. Expectations mainly adapted to contextual changes and were less influenced by progress in technology or earlier expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-96
Number of pages14
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Biomass gasification
  • Dynamics
  • Expectations
  • Hype-disappointment cycle
  • Longitudinal study


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