Pathways to hydrogen economies : a quantitative cross-national investigation of hydrogen discourses and strategy formulation in Britain and Germany

Buss, R 2008, Pathways to hydrogen economies : a quantitative cross-national investigation of hydrogen discourses and strategy formulation in Britain and Germany , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

Hydrogen and fuel cells as an emerging socio-technical system have been suggested as a very promising future energy carrier and technology to address the urgent problem of climate change and other symptoms of a global energy crisis. The flexible energy carrier and the emergence of a hydrogen based economy, according to its proponents, promises enormous benefits in terms of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, avoiding pollution, promoting innovation, economic growth, and an increase in energy efficiency. The transformation of energy systems by unlocking economies from dependence on depleting energy resources, emancipatory uses of energy, even the transformation of entire economies and societies towards sustainability are further potential positive functions of hydrogen as energy vector. Research has left its infant stages and first applications have already been successfully demonstrated. Hydrogen has the potential to turn the energy world upside down but at the same time might also lock-in unsustainable patterns of energy supply. We are currently witnessing a phase of policy formation and strategy formulation in terms of future hydrogen economies. Hydrogen economies are a possibility but not a certainty. In the absence of consensus about the nature of hydrogen and definitions what characterizes sustainable hydrogen we investigate policy formation by a narrative analysis and a quantitative online survey of hydrogen experts in the UK and Germany - two very active and ambitious countries in terms of environmental and climate policy in general and more specifically in hydrogen R&D. Energy paradigms and story lines of major stakeholders in different discourse coalitions matter in terms of future directions. Whereas there are no 'national' storylines we can well observe country and sector-specific differences in the perceptions of hydrogen experts in Britain and Germany. These become evident in the areas of nuclear and renewable sources of energy. Hydrogen experts expect that the transition towards a hydrogen economy will be a gradual process and is not characterized by sudden disruptive changes or end-of-pipe approaches in energy policy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: A Johnson
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2017 15:59
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 15:59
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/43005

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