|Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer|
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9.5.2 Programmes and Policies for Technology Transfer between Countries
Energy efficiency and GHG emission abatement could be viewed as an integral component of national and international development policies. Energy efficiency is commonly much less expensive to incorporate in the design process in new projects than as an afterthought or a retrofit. In the environmental domain, we have learned that "end of pipe" technologies for pollutant cleanup are often significantly more expensive than project redesign for pollution prevention, leading to widespread use of pre-project environmental impact statements to address these issues in the planning phase. Energy efficiency should also be incorporated into the planning and design processes wherever there are direct or indirect impacts on energy use such as in the design of industrial facilities, reducing the costs for energy supply and reducing the risks of local air pollution. This has not always been the case, as shown by Callin et al. (1991) for the investment in a new paper mill in Tanzania. Local circumstances often limit even the small investments needed for cleaner production and GHG abatement, due to lack of capital, poorly developed banking systems, lack of appropriate financing mechanisms, lack of knowledge (both within the industrial and financial sectors), technology risks, and management's unwillingness to borrow funds (Van Berkel and Bouma, 1999). These barriers reduce the availability of capital, stimulating investors to keep investment costs low, which may result in selection and purchase of inappropriate technologies.
Most policies and programmes for the transfer of environmentally sound and greenhouse gas abatement technologies are national, and only a few are internationally oriented. Examples of the latter are the Greenhouse Gas Technology Information Exchange (GREENTIE) of the OECD/IEA, the PHARE programme of the European Union with Central and Eastern-Europe, and various bilateral programmes, e.g. US-AEP (U.S. and various Asian countries), Green Initiative (Japan), and the Technology Partnership Initiative of the UK. Most industrialised (donor) countries have policies in place, but strongly connected to (technology) interests of the donor country. Joint Implementation or Activities Implemented Jointly (JI/AIJ) may also be a useful energy efficiency promotion instrument. JI (see also Chapter 3) involves a bi- or multi-lateral agreement, in which (donor) countries with high greenhouse gas abatement costs in implementing mitigation measures in a (host) country with lower costs receive credit for (part of) the resulting reduction in emissions. Under CoP3 the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (see also Chapter 3) has been introduced as a means to accelerate emissions reduction and credit emission reductions from project activities in non-Annex I countries to Annex I countries. The criteria for JI/CDM are still in the process of development (Goldemberg, 1998). Most likely the projects should fit in the scope of sustainable development of the host country (without reducing national autonomy and with cooperation of the national government), have multiple (environmental) benefits, be selected using strict criteria and be limited to a part of the abatement obligations of a donor country (Jepma, 1995; Pearce, 1995; Jackson, 1995). Determination (and crediting) of the net emission reductions is a problem that stresses the need of well-developed baseline emissions (La Rovere, 1998), i.e. emissions that would occur in the absence of the project (Jackson, 1995). JI/CDM can prove to be a viable financing instrument to accelerate developments in CEITs and in developing countries, if implemented according to specific criteria (Goldemberg, 1998). Comprehensive evaluation of pilot projects is necessary to formulate and adapt these criteria, including the issue of crediting.
The Japanese Green Assistance Plan aims at supporting Japanese exports of energy efficient technologies to other Asian countries, including China and Thailand (Sasaki and Asuka-Zhang, 1997). It is not always clear how the technologies supported under this programme are selected. Hu et al. (1998) made a report on the transfer of dry coke quenching technology from Japan to China, as part of the Japanese Green Assistance programme and JI/AIJ. The payback period under current Chinese conditions is 7 years (Hu et al., 1998). The recipient, Capital Steel, had no choice in the technology selection, as the transfer was the product of cooperation between both governments. Projects in India (Menke, 1998; Van Berkel, 1998b), as well as Leadership Programmes under the Montreal Treaty in Thailand and Vietnam aimed at the development of the needed capacity (Andersen, 1998b; see also Box 2.1 in Chapter 2 and Section 3.4 in Chapter 3 on the Montreal Protocol). The Indian projects proved to be successful, in the sense that they built active capacity assessing needs and opportunities for energy efficiency improvement and clean technologies for industries in various regions (see also Box 9.2). Formal recognition of the acquired skills in knowledge transfer seems to be important to improve the status of a program (Van Berkel, 1998a). International partnerships of firms can be a successful tool to transfer technologies, as shown in the Vietnam Leadership Programme between various TNCs active in Vietnam and government agencies to phase out the use of CFCs in the Vietnamese electronics industry (Andersen, 1998b). The example of bilateral cooperation between U.S. electronics manufacturers and Mexican suppliers helped to overcome some of the barriers in information supply and access to technology and financing (Andersen, 1998c).
As industrial development increases, capabilities for technology assessment and selection improve, as evidenced by the case study of pulverised coal injection for blast furnaces in the steel industry in Korea (Joo, 1998c), as well as by investment projects in new cement plants in Mexico (Turley, 1995) and Chinese Taipei (Chang, 1994). It is stressed that development of technical capabilities is a continuous process, because it takes large resources to build up a knowledge infrastructure, and the key to success is so-called "tacit knowledge" (unwritten knowledge obtained by experience) (Dosi, 1988), which is easily lost. The greater the existing capability, the greater the opportunities are for gaining knowledge from industrial collaboration and technology transfer (Chantramonklasri, 1990). Finally, language can be a barrier in successful transfer of a technology, especially when working with local contractors or suppliers (Hassan, 1997).
Agreement and Implementation
Evaluation and Adaptation
In practice, adaptation practices vary widely in various countries. For example, Chinese enterprises have spent, on average, only 9 (US) cents on assimilation for every (US) dollar on foreign technology. In contrast to countries as Korea and Japan where the amounts spent on assimilation were greater than those spent on technology itself (Suttmeier, 1997). Countries in a later stage of industrialisation may be better equipped for adapting technologies to the local industrial environment, while countries or companies in an earlier stage may (have to) rely more on the foreign suppliers of technology. Equipment suppliers may license part of the construction or parts supply to local firms. This is illustrated by the construction of an advanced steel plant in Korea, which was partly done by Samsung Heavy Industries (Worrell, 1998), as well as examples in the construction of cement plants in India (Somani and Kothari, 1997), Mexico (Turley, 1995) and Chinese Taipei (Chang, 1994). The examples in Korea, Mexico and Chinese Taipei show a heavy involvement in technology procurement, design and management. The Korean and Mexican firms belong to the largest producers in the world of respectively steel and cement.
Various concepts of replication and development are demonstrated by other case studies. Waste Minimisation Circles were started in a few regions in India, and are now replicated in other sectors and regions (Van Berkel, 1998a). UNIDO/UNEP replicated National Cleaner Production Centres in various developing countries and CEITs (Van Berkel, 1998b). Replication of programmes and experiences as a form of South-South cooperation is demonstrated by the transfer of the Indian auditing programme to Jordan (Menke, 1998). The examples of furnace technology development for SMEs in India through joint organisations (e.g. research institutes, NGOs) demonstrate the benefits of combining the experiences and strengths of various partners in innovative development and implementation schemes (TERI, 1997). Countries possessing a higher technical capability are faster to replicate and develop a technology. The first implementation of pulverised coal injection in a blast furnace in Korea made it possible to replicate the technology in another plant (Joo, 1998c) of the same company. The examples of the FINEX (fine-ore-based smelt reduction) process development, as well as the development of the HYL direct reduction process in Mexico (Zervas et al., 1996), illustrate the capability of companies in NICs to develop a new process. The advanced FINEX project is an example of technology cooperation between the Austrian supplier and the Korean industry (Joo, 1998b). The steel sector is an industry with relatively frequent and open communication. In other sectors, e.g. the chemicals industry, process and technology knowledge is proprietary, limiting replication and development for developing countries and CEITs. Licensors and contractors are interested in the successful transfer of proprietary technology to secure future sales (Hassan, 1997).
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