Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI
Press Release 16.01.2017
What do normal citizens and experts think of hydrogen as a new source of
energy? Together with ten European partners, Fraunhofer ISI wanted to discover
the answers to this question. The team of researchers questioned almost 7,500 individuals
from seven European countries to determine their familiarity with, current
attitudes towards and future expectations of hydrogen and fuel cell
technologies. This revealed that the technologies are basically positively
perceived, but not well known and there is a low willingness to buy them. The
detailed results of this study, which was conducted as part of the EU funded
project “HYACINTH”, have now been published in the specialist journal “HZwei”.
The successful introduction of a new technology depends on its acceptance by the whole of society. This is why the acceptance of mobile and stationary hydrogen and fuel cell technologies is being studied on a broad scale in the “HYACINTH” project, funded by the European Union: The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI (Karlsruhe), the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) and the Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (Barcelona, Spain) surveyed 7,148 citizens and 333 experts from the field of energy and hydrogen for the new study. The experts come from Germany, France, Great Britain, Spain and Slovenia; the ordinary citizens are from these five countries plus Belgium and Norway.
Together with the two
scientific project partners, Dr. Elisabeth Dütschke and Uta Schneider from Fraunhofer
ISI were responsible for designing and analyzing the questionnaires.
The citizens were first asked about their general familiarity with hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. On average, just over 40 percent of those questioned in all seven countries had heard of these technologies. Familiarity is above average in Germany and Norway but below average in Spain.
addition, respondents evaluated stationary applications like heating systems
for private homes based on fuel cells and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV)
and the related infrastructure. Here, it was revealed that only about one
quarter of those questioned had heard about the heating systems. 64 percent of
them would be in favor of installing such a system in their home – but only
about 20 percent are actually considering buying one. The biggest obstacle is
the high purchase price followed by the assumed lack of technological maturity.
Mobile applications like FCEV are better known than stationary systems: Around 45 percent of the surveyed citizens had already heard of them – once again, the technology is better known in Germany and Norway.
In principle and assuming
that all the vehicle’s features are identical to those of a conventional
vehicle, there is a high willingness to buy, especially in Norway and Spain.
However, only about 20 percent would actually seriously consider buying a FCEV
when purchasing their next vehicle. Similar to the stationary applications, the
high purchase price and doubts about technological maturity and market
readiness deter people from buying. Another reason is the lack of refueling
To start with, the experts were asked for a general assessment of hydrogen technologies: Almost 90 percent of them are in favor of these technologies as a possible solution to energy and environmental problems. They expect a particularly positive market development for hydrogen-powered buses followed by hydrogen-based systems for emergency or back-up power supply. In contrast, their least positive assessment was for the market introduction of large-scale prime power supply systems.
The experts then went on to assess either stationary or mobile applications in more detail. Similar to ordinary citizens, they see costs as the biggest challenge to stationary applications, and the low number of refueling stations as the most important challenge to hydrogen mobility. According to the experts, public acceptance will be positively influenced by the availability of green hydrogen, produced using renewable energy sources. In their opinion, the most urgent requirement is to develop the hydrogen infrastructure so that hydrogen-powered vehicles can become competitive with battery electric vehicles.
The detailed results
of the survey have now been published in the specialist journal “HZwei“.
The HYACINTH project (Hydrogen
Acceptance in the Transition Phase) is being funded by the European Union as
part of its 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7). The
project’s objective is to study the social acceptance of hydrogen technologies in
both stationary and mobile applications. More information is available here: http://www.isi.fraunhofer.de/isi-en/e/projekte/317560_HYACINTH_De_17.php and
The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI
analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short-
and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of
new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to
provide our clients from industry, politics and science with
recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our
expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an
interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.
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