New Study Finds That the Public Favors Hydrogen
From major energy companies like BP to legacy vehicle manufacturers like Honda and BMW, many corporations are doubling down on hydrogen as a future fuel source. Moreover, according to recent industry trends, governments at every level are betting on hydrogen, too.
But what about the average person? Consumers are also on board with hydrogen as the next big thing in clean energy.
According to a 2023 report from Bosch, 41% of worldwide survey respondents see hydrogen fuel cell technology as the most significant driver of sustainability. This enthusiastic endorsement puts hydrogen in a tie for first place (alongside climate engineering) as the public’s green tech of choice.
This recent study offers a fascinating look into the public perception of hydrogen, so it’s worth taking a closer look.
Breaking Down the Study
Although the Bosch Tech Compass study explores future technology in general, the report reveals several fascinating insights about hydrogen.
Notably, the study’s polling of diverse international markets shows that the positive outlook on hydrogen tech isn’t localized to any one country or culture. Instead, people see hydrogen as a global solution to shared issues like climate change, energy shortages, and economic uncertainty.
Some of the most promising takeaways from the survey include these statistics:
- 33% of all respondents believe hydrogen will have a positive impact on society
- 42% of German respondents see hydrogen as the next decade’s most influential tech
- 54% of British respondents view hydrogen as the future of sustainable tech
- 82% of all respondents think sustainable businesses will enjoy economic success
Overall, it’s clear that hydrogen has moved beyond awareness and into the realm of acceptance. But, as these results reveal, it’s time to progress to the final stage: Adoption.
Why Hydrogen Appeals as an Energy Source
Several well-publicized reasons may have prepared the public for the mass adoption of hydrogen. While the Bosch study doesn’t explain why respondents view hydrogen so positively, some of the likely reasons include:
- Versatility – Clean hydrogen can replace fossil fuels in numerous sectors, including transportation, power generation, feedstock, and commercial and residential heating.
- Familiarity – Asking consumers to change their behavior is always one of the biggest hurdles for new technology. With that in mind, hydrogen passenger cars may be more palatable than electric vehicles due to refueling times. Even a Tesla Supercharger—one of the fastest available options for charging EVs—takes 15 minutes to provide 200 miles of range. On the other hand, a complete hydrogen refueling only takes 3–5 minutes for 300+ miles of range, making it comparable to pumping gas.
- Zero carbon emissions – Perhaps most importantly, hydrogen represents a carbon-neutral future. The only significant output from burning hydrogen is water vapor. Recent breakthroughs even allow for carbon-negative hydrogen production, where captured waste becomes hydrogen fuel.
Hesitations Toward Hydrogen Fuel Remain
So, if much of the public is ready to adopt hydrogen as a next-gen energy source, why haven’t we seen a massive shift toward this sustainable fuel?
Unfortunately, hydrogen still faces some roadblocks. These may include:
- Perceived danger – Although the Hindenburg disaster took place more than 80 years ago, some people may still see the catastrophic explosion as an argument against hydrogen. Case in point: 6% of survey respondents listed hydrogen/fuel cells as the technology that poses “the biggest threat to society.” However, while pure hydrogen gas remains flammable, today’s commercial hydrogen production and storage processes pose minimal risk. In fact, according to the National Resources Defense Council, hydrogen may be safer than conventional fuels.
- Limited fueling stations – Per the U.S. Department of Energy, there are 59 hydrogen fueling stations in North America as of the time of writing. The vast majority of these stations are centered in California. Until our hydrogen infrastructure improves, the average consumer will be unable to tap into the benefits of a hydrogen passenger vehicle.
- Problems with hydrogen production – While hydrogen burns clean, its production isn’t always as eco-conscious. In the past, many hydrogen projects relied on polluting fossil fuels to power the extraction process. Thankfully, the emergence of turquoise hydrogen and other “colors” of hydrogen gas represents a move toward end-to-end sustainability in the hydrogen industry.
Building the Future of Hydrogen
With governments, businesses, and now everyday citizens recognizing the value of hydrogen fuel cell technology, it’s evident that this green energy source will be part of the solution moving forward.
Now, it’s time for hydrogen infrastructure to catch up. And while the shift to hydrogen tech will eventually impact every industry, most people won’t see these changes happen. For the average consumer, public-facing refueling stations for passenger vehicles and heavy-duty hydrogen ICE trucks represent the transformation that hydrogen will bring.
At FASTECH, we’ve already been hard at work preparing for the hydrogen-forward future. With over 30 hydrogen stations built—and more to come—we’re powering progress through end-to-end solutions.
Are you looking to begin an alternative fueling project? Contact us today to learn more about our expertise in hydrogen infrastructure.