Keywords: ANT, actor–network theory, institutional theory, small island ferries, innovation, energy efficiency, networks, new technology, technological development, carbon fibre composites, maritime industry, network collaboration, life cycle costing, regulation, sustainable development, sustainability, institutional barriers, ferry design
Making carbon–fibre composite ferries a competitive alternative: the institutional challenges
Public policies and governmental structures are expected to provide incentives for a sustainable development, but some structures are developed for different purposes and instead create barriers to new innovations. In the case of small displacement island ferries in European waters, the institutional settings favour less sustainable solutions, namely steel designs, although lighter alternatives in carbon–fibre composites are available. Network collaboration can be seen as a method for actors to overcome barriers to the development of a new technology. This paper shows how a number of small actors in a network develop capabilities to overcome institutional barriers in the ferry sector in order to get the eco–innovations on the market. The analysis shows that the network changes the institutional setting for the new technology in a manner in which the individual actors would not be able to change it themselves.