Biotechnology and the Potential for a Radical Shift of Technology in Forest Industry

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Is biotechnology a revolutionary technology that will dramatically transform present technological systems, industries and society or will the entrance of biotechnology into industry rather take the shape of incremental innovations without any deeper impact on dominating technological paradigms? The vast science and technology research in this area has focused on pharmaceuticals and neglected the potential role for large scale biomass handling activities like the forest industry in general and pulp and paper industry in particular. In addition the industry itself has not focused its R&D activities towards utilization of biotechnology on inputs, processes or products. This is a study on the technological system for pulp and paper facing the challenge of a radical shift of technology. The confrontation between the genuinely science based biotechnology and its community on the one hand, and the pulp and paper community (highly scientific within the framework of a low-technology industry) on the other, is analyzed as are the industrial and economic potentials and limitations of biotechnology in this area.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2000

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