Technological Hybridization

  • Nuno Luis Madureira


This chapter draws on the two major technological hybridizations that have occurred in the field of energy: the current hybrid electrical vehicle that combines the internal combustion engine with an electric battery and the oil–steam hybrid in which fuel oil was adapted to feed steam engines originally designed as coal-fueled. The analysis highlights some of the problems inherent to hybridization processes, specifically investment in new network infrastructures; the consolidation of a technology with a dominant design; and the operational asymmetry between high specific energy and high specific power. Our study of the oil–steam combine embraces its diffusion across leading producing nations such as Russia and the United States, its diffusion into industrial and transport activities in South America, and its spread throughout European navies. We show how this process of hybridization entailed the transformation of oil into a geostrategic good and triggered an international scramble to seize sources of this natural resource.


Internal Combustion Engine Steam Engine Coal Supply Operational Asymmetry Tank Ship 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Universitario de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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