Assessment on the Research Trend of Low-Carbon Energy Technology Investment: A Bibliometric Analysis

Significance Statement

As a result of high carbon emission which leads to global warming, there exists a persistent desire to create an alternative route for energy supply from renewable sources. The fusion of low-carbon energy technologies, which is a form of renewable energy to the developing world would not only reduce emission of carbon particles but also satisfy energy demand.

Despite the use of bibliometric analytical method of study and evaluation of previous research with focus on low-carbon technology investment, there exists a need for more detailed bibliometric strategy to provide an encompassing knowledge in this field.

Dr. Zhifu Mi and colleagues conducted a comprehensive bibliometric analysis from obtainable literatures in order to find the research status and trend in line with that of the low-carbon energy technology investment, coupled with measurements of comprehension strength between countries, followed by a frequency analysis of keywords to discover research hot topics as a base for future assessment and lastly, provision of relevant ideas needed for the future development and investment of low-carbon energy technology. The paper is now published in the journal, Applied Energy.

The authors made use of databases of Science Citation Index Expanded from 1981 to date and that of Social Sciences Citation Index dating back to 2002. They also considered some characteristic terms such as general statistics, number of countries’ publications, journal and subject distributions, authors and institution statistics, academic collaboration, article citation and comprehensive strength in the field of low-carbon energy technology investment among countries from 2121 publications.

Following the trends of top 10 productive countries, two stages were observed from the year 1985 to 2013; the first stage with stable development from 1985 to 2014 with research growth rate of 13.15%, and the second, with rapid development from 2005 to 2013 with research growth rate of 29.06%. This shows that the low-carbon energy technology investment has reached the rapid development stage.

The USA had the highest number of publications, followed by European countries of Germany and UK, and the fourth was China. Highest number of publications was observed in developed countries compared to the developing ones, but a decrease in disparity as years go by was also envisaged.

Energy Policy had the highest number of total publications, followed by Renewable Energy and Energy. However, the highest citations per publications were found in the journals of Biomass Bioenergy followed by International Journal of Hydrogen Energy and Solar Energy. They also found Energy Fuel journal followed by the journals of Environmental Sciences Ecology and Engineering to have the highest number of subjects related to the low-carbon energy technology investment.

The national comprehensive strength of the USA, in the field of the low-carbon technology was the highest followed by the UK. European countries dominated the top 15 productive countries with inclusion of developing countries of China and Turkey.

When the authors analysed the frequency of keywords, “renewable energy” was discovered to be the mostly used. “Carbon capture and storage” was observed to be an emerging keyword with an upward trend, followed by the frequently used “electricity”. Research hotspots with keywords such as “policy”, “real option theory” and “uncertainty” are also developing rapidly.

This study was able to provide a broad bibliometric method which analyzed the investment in low-carbon energy technology for future assessments.

Trend of Low Carbon Energy Technology Investment A Bibliometric Analysis - renewable energy global innovations

About the author

Dr. Zhifu Mi is a Senior Research Associate in the School of International Development, University of East Anglia (UEA) and Senior Research Fellow in the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He is a Managing Guest Editor of Journal of Cleaner Production (IF=4.959). His research is focused on climate change mitigation, energy policy, and climate change economic theories and modelling. He has authored over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

He was invited to write a review article entitled Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) for Climate Change in Oxford Bibliographies which invites top scholars and researchers in the field to contribute. He has served as an Author for Chapter 37 on International Policies and Actions to Tackle Climate Change in the Third National Assessment Report on Climate Change which is known as Chinese “IPCC Assessment Report”.

Journal Reference

H. Yu1,2,3,4, Y.M. Wei1,2,3, B.J. Tang1,2,3, Z. Mi1,5, S.Y. Pan1,2,3, Assessment on the Research Trend of Low-Carbon Energy Technology Investment: A Bibliometric Analysis, Applied Energy 184 (2016) 960–970.

Show Affiliations
  1. Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
  2. School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
  3. Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, Beijing 100081, China
  4. Visitor of Energy Policy Research Group, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1AG, UK
  5. School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK


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