Hydrogen in the neighbourhood

Current hydrogen filling station infrastructure
Current hydrogen filling station infrastructure, © H2 Mobility.

The transport turnaround requires new mobility concepts and alternative propulsion technologies, for which a new infrastructure will be necessary. Seventy hydrogen filling stations have already been built in Germany. Even though some of these are located in metropolitan areas, the small number of fuel cell cars means that there are hardly any points of contact between the technology and the population. The filling station infrastructure offers a present interface between hydrogen and society.

Acceptance research can build on this and examine perception and reaction to existing offers.

Hydrogenics

In connection with H2 filling stations for fuel cell vehicles, the chicken and egg problem is often stressed. Hydrogen-powered cars can only assert themselves in the commercial market if there are enough possibilities to refuel with H2 gas. Again, an expansion of the H2 infrastructure is only worthwhile if there are enough vehicles to ensure adequate capacity utilisation. Verbund H2 Mobility was founded in 2015 to address this dilemma. Supported by shareholders such as Air Liquide, Daimler, Shell and Total, the company intends to set up one hundred filling stations throughout Germany by the end of 2019 and thus give the hoped-for vehicle ramp-up the infrastructural link.

Up to now, vehicles have hardly provided any points of contact for the general public to come into contact with the topic of hydrogen and the associated technologies. However, H2 filling stations are now a tangible reality. They enable acceptance research to investigate at the local level how the visibility and perception of hydrogen are shaped in an everyday context.

Acceptance is an important prerequisite for the implementation of energy policy projects. In acceptance research one can take up different dimensions of acceptance as focal point [1], [5]. The dimension of community acceptance plays an important role for the acceptance of H2 stations [5]. The aim here is to find out how the local population assesses technical systems of this kind in their surroundings.

read more in H2-international July 2019

Authors:
Viktoria Scheidler, Theresa Pfaff, Julia Epp, Anke Schmidt,
all from the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung gGmbH (WZB)

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