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Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen and Robert Wuebker
Chapter 13: Interfirm Relationships in a New Industry: The Case of Fuel Cell Technologies
Stefano Pogutz, Angeloantonio Russo and Paolo Migliavacca 1 OVERVIEW In recent years the global climate crisis, degradation of ecosystems (MEA, 2005; Metz and Davidson, 2007), depletion of fluid fossil fuels, and high volatility of energy markets all starkly underline the need for change in our energy system. To achieve sustainable development, low carbon technologies are necessary to reduce our ecological footprint. Dependence on relations with and largesse of unstable geopolitical regions, along with the anticipated increase in global demand for petroleum and gas (IEA, 2008), inevitably reduces our confidence in future, affordable access to traditional energy sources, obliging us to refocus our hope on alternative energy sources, new energy carriers, and the development of innovative solutions to the challenge of energy conversion, grateful all the while that alternative sources do exist to replace our dependence on sources that threaten the continued existence of life as we know it on Earth. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies have emerged as potential solutions to these huge challenges, though controversies over where exactly to focus our most immediate efforts exist within the scientific, political, and industrial communities. Magazines, newspapers, and other media nurture our hope in the potential of this small and light molecule. Governments and policy makers have prepared a large number of white papers and official documents framing pathways toward the ‘hydrogen-based’ economy (CEC, 2003; DOE, 2006; McDowall and Eames, 2006; Solomon and Banerjee, 2006). Moreover, a growing number of firms and entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly aware of the substantial market potential...
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