Stakeholder Feedback on MATISSE Sustainable Hydrogen Visions and Pathways: Findings from the June 2007 Hydrogen Stakeholder Workshop

Whitmarsh, L., L. Bohunovsky, J. Jäger and B. Nykvist (2007) MATISSE Working Paper 18 Abstract The stakeholder workshop discussed here is part of an iterative process of consultation and social learning with stakeholder groups in conducting Integrated Sustainability Assessments (ISAs) of sustainable hydrogen and mobility within the MATISSE project. Break-out discussion groups and self-completion questionnaires were used to elicit stakeholders’ feedback on, and further input to, the hydrogen and mobility transition modelling work conducted within MATISSE, to identify whether sustainability visions should be modified and which policies should be assessed, and to foster social learning amongst stakeholders. In respect of the vision of sustainable hydrogen-based transport developed in MATISSE, stakeholders agreed that different countries should use different feedstocks and production technologies, and most agreed that it will be necessary to use conventional hydrogen production methods in the initial phase of a hydrogen transition, before (rapidly) moving towards a renewable-based transport system. Overall, the questionnaire results show stakeholders are ambivalent about the social and economic impacts of hydrogen-based transport, but are optimistic about its environmental impact. Furthermore, the group discussions revealed concerns that a hydrogen transition may imply a move towards more unsustainable transport in some respects, namely increasing social inequality and problematic technologies (i.e. carbon capture and sequestration [CCS] and nuclear) involved in hydrogen production, and contributing to unsustainable economic, energy and transport growth. These concerns about the possible unsustainability of hydrogen suggest these issues would be usefully addressed in policy assessments of hydrogen. Indeed, most participants advocated an alternative sustainable transport vision – most commonly, a ‘modal shift’ vision – to be considered in addition to a hydrogen-based transport vision. Alternative transport technologies (biofuels, hybrid-electrics) and reduced mobility demand were also discussed, though there was less agreement about the merits of these alternatives. Overall, stakeholders at this workshop were very optimistic about the role of transport technologies – particularly hydrogen – in tackling problems of unsustainability. In respect of particular policies that should be assessed, stakeholders particularly favoured economic measures, such as carbon/emissions taxes, and research, development and demonstration (RD&D) to promote novel technologies. Investment in public transport infrastructure, public education, and institutional changes (e.g., to avoid global inequalities, to develop locally relevant solutions) were also suggested for promoting sustainable transport. Around a third of stakeholders said they had changed their views as a result of participation in the break-out groups; and most said they had learnt something. Download PDF.

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