Public values for a hydrogen energy system

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Psychology


Public perceptions are important in relation to if and how public(s) may engage with Hydrogen fuelled technologies. Notably public awareness and understanding of Hydrogen technologies is currently very low. Attitudes are largely positive but mixed and variable between people; these are likely to change significantly as Hydrogen technologies proliferate further. Current understanding of perceptions of hydrogen are limited and tend to ignore the wider context of the technology. Research is proposed that uses a mixed methodology using both qualitative and quantitative approaches to examine perceptions towards likely future Hydrogen technology scenarios. This will enable an analysis of public perceptions allowing depth of understanding of why and when people accept Hydrogen technologies, as well as the ability to consider the generalisability of empirical results across the population, and providing the ability to identify who is likely to accept Hydrogen technologies. It is also proposed to apply and develop previously identified public values for energy system change in order to understand what features of a new Hydrogen system are likely to engender or deny acceptance.

Planned Impact

The RI self-assessment of an individual's research projects will mean that the cohort have a high degree of understanding of the potential beneficial impact from their research on the economy, society and the environment. This then places the cohort as the best ambassadors for the CDT, hence most pathways to impact are through the students, facilitated by the CDT.

Industrial impact of this CDT is in working closely together with key industry players across the hydrogen sector, including through co-supervision, mentoring of doctoral students and industry involvement in CDT events. Our industrial stakeholders include those working on hydrogen production (ITM Power, Hydrogen Green Power, Pure Energy) and distribution (Northern Gas, Cadent), storage (Luxfer, Haydale, Far UK), safety (HSL, Shell, ITM Power), low carbon transport (Ulemco, Arcola Energy), heat and power (Bosch, Northern Gas).

Policy impact of the CDT research and other activities will occur through cohort interactions with local authorities (Nottingham City Council) and LEPs (LLEP, D2N2) through the CDT workshops and conference. A CDT in Parliament day will be facilitated by UKHFCA (who have experience in lobbying the government on behalf of their members) and enable the cohort to visit the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), BEIS and to meet with local MPs. Through understanding the importance of evidence gathering by Government Departments and the role this has in informing policy, the cohort will be encouraged to take the initiative in submitting evidence to any relevant requests for evidence from POST.

Public impact will be achieved through developing knowledge-supported interest of public in renewable energy in particular the role of hydrogen systems and infrastructure. Special attention will be paid to demonstration of safety solutions to prove that hydrogen is not more or less dangerous compared to other fuels when it is dealt with professionally and systems are engineered properly. The public, who are ultimate beneficiaries of hydrogen technologies, will be engaged through different communication channels and the CDT activities to be aware of our work. We will communicate important conclusions of the CDT research at regional, national, and international events as appropriate.

Socio-economic impact. There are significant socio-economic opportunities, including employment, for hydrogen technologies as the UK moves to low carbon transport, heat and power supply. For the UK to have the opportunity to take an international lead in hydrogen sector we need future innovation leaders. The CDT supported by partners we will create conditions for and exploit the opportunities to maximise socio-economic impact.

Students will be expected in years 3 and 4 to undertake a research visit to an industry partner and/or to undertake a knowledge transfer secondment. It is expected these visits (supported by the CDT) will be a significant benefit to the student's research project through access to industry expertise, exploring the potential impact of their research and will also be a valuable networking experience.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023909/1 31/03/2019 29/09/2031
2446071 Studentship EP/S023909/1 30/09/2020 30/05/2028 Zoe Pallis