Economic and Social Challenges
Edited by Paul Ekins
Routledge – 2010 – 312 pages
Hydrogen could be a significant fuel of the future, with the potential to make a major contribution to the resolution of pressing social and environmental problems such as carbon emissions, energy security and local air pollution.
This book, based on four years of detailed research, subjects the promise and potential of hydrogen to searching, in-depth socio-economic analysis. It discusses the different technologies for the production, distribution, storage and use of hydrogen, and analyzes the economics of these technologies and their current market prospects. It also describes various experiences with aspects of a hydrogen economy in two parts of the world – the UK and Canada – and then assesses the nature of different hydrogen futures that might develop depending on how the technology, economics, social acceptance and policy frameworks play out in different contexts.
The book ends by setting out the policy drivers and levers which could stimulate a virtuous circle of research and development, innovation and investment that might ultimately generate a sustainable hydrogen economy. This is essential reading for economists, engineers, business leaders, investors, policy makers, researchers and students who are interested in the future of the energy system and the part that hydrogen might play in it.
'This marvellous volume sets out how a transition to a hydrogen economy might come about. It will surely do much to hasten its arrival!' Professor Peter Edwards, University of Oxford, UK 'This book brings a much needed critical perspective to the hydrogen debate. Unlike much of the hype around the 'hydrogen economy', the authors don't assume hydrogen is the answer - but ask what would be required for it to have a significant impact.' Jim Watson, Director, Sussex Energy Group and Co-leader, Tyndall Centre Climate and Energy Programme, University of Sussex, UK 'How - and whether - hydrogen might contribute to a sustainable energy economy is one of the great imponderables of energy policy. The outcome depends on improving technological performance, lowering costs, gaining public acceptance and above all engineering systemic change. Don't look to this book - or any other book - for a prediction of the future. But if you want this complex problem untangled look no further. This book will tell you all you need to know about what we don't know.' Professor Jim Skea, Research Director, UK Energy Research Centre 'From the Editor of Nature to the presenter of Top Gear, all believe that hydrogen as a widely used, secure and sustainable energy carrier is essential and inevitable. But hard challenges abound: this marvellous volume sets out how a transition to a hydrogen economy might come about. It will surely do much to hasten its arrival!' Professor Peter Edwards, University of Oxford, UK
1. Introduction and Overview 2. Innovation and Technological Change 3. Hydrogen Technologies and Costs 4. Hydrogen Markets: An Assessment of the Competitiveness of Fuel Cells 5. Hydrogen Transitions: A Socio-Technical Scenarios Approach 6. Hydrogen System Modelling 7. Hydrogen in Cities and Regions: An International Review 8. Hydrogen in Vancouver: A Cluster of Innovation 9. Hydrogen in the UK: Urban and Regional Drivers and Differences 10. Hydrogen Risks: A Critical Analysis of Expert Knowledge and Expectations 11. Public Attitudes to Hydrogen 12. Hydrogen and Public Policy: Conclusions and Recommendations Index
Paul Ekins, an environmental economist, joined the UCL Energy Institute, University College London, as Professor of Energy and Environment Policy in August 2009. He leads the Energy Systems theme of the UK Energy Research Centre and University College's involvement in large research consortia on Bioenergy and Hydrogen.