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The Transition to Hydrogen-based Energy: Combining technology and risk assessments and lay perspectives.

Ricci, M, Newsholme, G, Bellaby, P and Flynn, R 2007, 'The Transition to Hydrogen-based Energy: Combining technology and risk assessments and lay perspectives.' , International Journal of Energy Sector Management, 1 (1) , pp. 34-50.

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Abstract

Purpose – The paper attempts to highlight and discuss the limitations of the current discourse around the role of hydrogen-based energy in a more sustainable future. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws upon preliminary findings from qualitative fieldwork in three case studies. Focus groups were conducted with members of the public in three different areas of the UK where hydrogen projects are being planned and/or developed. Findings are connected to evidence gathered in other similar studies addressing the relationship between publics and new technologies. Findings – In the case of hydrogen energy and its role in a future economy, questions about safety were present but did not dominate the debate. Participants in our focus groups were not only concerned about the technical and economic aspects of hydrogen technologies, but they also wanted to understand what hydrogen as an energy carrier and fuel would mean for them and in their daily lives; whether it would deliver the promise of realising a better future, for the global environment and the people; and whether it would disrupt people's lifestyles and require a significant change in collective and individual behaviour. Moreover, a frequent issue raised by many people was their ambivalence about what, and whom, to trust in the provision of information about hydrogen. Originality/value – This research on public attitudes to a future hydrogen economy provides empirical insights about the socio-cultural contexts in which lay understandings of new, unfamiliar technologies and technological systems are developed, and what issues are raised by members of the general public when an informed debate is encouraged. The research attempts to contribute to the wider debate about public engagement in technological change.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TP Chemical technology > TP315 Fuel
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Health & Social Care > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences > Centre for Social Research
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Energy Sector Management
Publisher: Emerald
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1750-6220
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2007 14:47
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:52
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/1072

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