3642 What techno-economic regime for sustainable chemistry? The analysis of the impacts of the relationship between green chemistry and doubly green chemistry in academic research and industrial innovation

Debref Romain , Regards (EA 6292), University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France
Garnier Estelle , Regards (EA 6292), University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France
Full Papers
  • Garnier_Debref_What techno-economic regime for sustainable chemistry.pdf (488.1 kB)
  • Justification of the paper:

    Since the last two decades the rise of environmental concerns leads to the sector of chemistry to develop new practices and new products in order to be on the same wavelength with the sustainable development. That is why we discuss the emergence - or not - of a new techno-economic paradigm.


    Our work aims to analyze if a new techno-economic paradigm of sustainable chemistry is emerging or not by analyzing two places in this sector. Firstly we focus on academic research in downstream, then from industrial innovations in upstream.

    Theoretical framework:

    Our theoretical framework is the theory of "Transition to sustainable development" (Geels, 2011). It deals with the general theory of sustainable socio-technical transitions. We discuss particularly the concept of emergence of a new sociotechnical regime from a dominant design and a "winning" technology.


    From the academic field our work has identified two levels in terms of representations and of development for a sustainable chemistry. After having shown that many forms and various names was proposed in the wake of the 1990s (eg "environmental chemistry" or "soft chemistry"), sustainable chemistry has been stabilized thanks to the concept of "Green Chemistry" (GC). Yet, during the 2000s, the dominance of this concept was gradually modified until a radical change in the situation. Indeed the academic world has based increasingly its efforts to develop a sustainable chemistry by valuing plant resources. The most of tools which are used by "Green Chemistry" are redeployed in order to develop a new kind of chemistry : we call it the "doubly green chemistry" (2GV) (ie the sustainable chemistry of the plant).

    Then we focus on innovation strategies of chemical industries in the case of resilient floorings. Our conclusions point out that this sector applies both the concept of the "Green Chemistry" and of the "Doubly Green Chemistry". As a matter of fact three kinds of products are in competition. Firstly plastic products are made by integrating new PVC and by PVC recycling (GC strategy). Secondly various products are designed from 100% biobased products such as linoleum which requires sawdust and linseed oil (2GC strategy). Thirdly various products needs new PVC, PVC recycling and biobased plasticizers in order to prevent dangerous chemicals (phthalates) while avoiding the effects of price elasticity of petrol (mixed strategy between GC and 2GV).


    Our results conclude that there is no emergence of a winning technology and a dominant design for sustainable chemistry today.