Innovation gaps

Introduction


The IEA’s Innovation Gaps framework identifies key long-term technology challenges for research, development and demonstration that need to be filled in order to meet long-term clean energy transition goals. The framework highlights around 100 innovation gaps across 45 key technologies and sectors including power, other fuel supply, industry, buildings, transport and energy integration.

Technology solutions by readiness level

Each dot on the chart represents a technology solution for one of the innovation gaps identified in that sector.

Readiness level ?

Idea
Prototype
Demonstration
Scaling up
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

Renewables

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Fuel supply

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Transport

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Buildings

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Industry

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Energy integration

Methodology


Each innovation gap represents an innovation challenge that needs to be overcome to reach the level of performance or deployment of a technology necessary to reach the Sustainable Development Scenario.

For each innovation gap, we identify what solutions exist today and rank their readiness along an extended Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale, that goes from the concept stage to scaling up the technology solution. We then describe what activities are underway to advance those solutions and close the gaps, and what governments, companies, research institutes are leading those efforts today.

Finally, we assess what needs to be done by governments, the energy industry, and other stakeholders to take advantage of these opportunities, both in the short-term and in the long-term.

Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs)


Idea →

1

Initial Idea

Basic principles have been defined

2

Application formulated

Concept and application of solution have been formulated

3

Concept needs validation

Solution needs to be prototyped and applied

Prototype →

4

Early prototype

Prototype proven in test conditions

5

Large prototype

Components proven in conditions to be deployed

6

Full prototype at scale

Prototype proven at scale in conditions to be deployed

Demonstration →

7

Pre-commercial demonstration

Solution working in expected conditions

8

First-of-a-kind commercial

Commercial demonstration, full-scale deployment in final form

Scaling up

9

Commercial operation in relevant environment

Solution is commercially available, needs evolutionary improvement to stay competitive

10

Integration at scale

Solution is commercial and competitive but needs further integration efforts

11

Proof of stability

Predictable growth