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Governing Innovation for Sustainable Development in the Danish Biogas Sector – a Historical Overview and Analysis of Innovation


Correspondence to: Rikke Lybæk, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark. E-mail:


Drawing on innovation literature, this article contests the wisdom of the conventional linear innovation model (invention–demonstration–commercialization–diffusion) and argues that innovation in the case of biogas is, instead, characterized by numerous feedback loops between research, demonstration, commercialization and diffusion. Furthermore, these feedback loops are heavily influenced and shaped by public sector interventions in many aspects of the innovation activities. The article presents the history of Danish farm biogas plants and their present status and discusses the development and implementation of the technology in relation to innovation achievements. The article thus concludes that innovation can be better understood in terms of a dynamic model drawing on initiatives by private, public and academic actors. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment