Anticipating public attitudes towards hydrogen energy technologies

June 22nd, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:
Social licence; Communication and engagement

Lead Organisation:

Not applicable


Start date:
November 2020

Completion date:
November 2023

Key contacts:
Lead investigator: Mitchell Scovell –
Project leader/supervisor: Andrea Walton –

AUD$411,000 – Responsible Innovation Future Science Platform
AUD$304,000 – Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform

Project total cost:

Project summary description:
Hydrogen energy technologies are expected to play a key role in future energy systems. Developing a responsible hydrogen industry is, however, dependent on public and community acceptance. This project addresses key gaps in the current understanding of the psycho-social factors that influence hydrogen acceptance.

The project is centred around three primary objectives.

  • Conducting a thorough examination of the existing literature to pinpoint crucial gaps that need to be addressed in future research.
  • Gaining insights into public perceptions regarding technologies employed within the hydrogen supply chain, encompassing production, storage, transportation, and end-use technologies.
  • Test a novel network modelling approach to explain how factors such as attitudes, trust, and risk perception form and how they, in turn, impact the acceptance of hydrogen.

In the conduct of the research, it was found that there is a lack of research focusing on community acceptance of large-scale infrastructure projects, which has shaped the direction of future research in the field. Findings from the empirical studies suggest that people are supportive of the idea of using hydrogen but have some concerns about how hydrogen will fit within future renewable energy systems, the technology’s safety, the quantity of exports and how water use will be managed.

The project also demonstrated that a network modelling approach is fruitful way of explaining how hydrogen attitudes form and for identifying important psycho-social factors to consider when scaling up a hydrogen industry in Australia. Overall, the findings have implications for policy and communication strategies, and for helping to ensure that the hydrogen industry aligns with societal values and expectations.

Related publications and key links:

Journal articles
Scovell, M.D., Walton, A (2023) Identifying informed beliefs about hydrogen technologies across the energy supply chain. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 48(82), 31825-31836.

Scovell, M.D. (2022) Explaining hydrogen energy technology acceptance: A critical review. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 47(19), 10441-10459.

Technical Report
Scovell, M.D., Walton, A (2022) Identifying informed beliefs about hydrogen technologies across the energy supply chain. CSIRO: EP2022-1047.

Conference presentations
Scovell, M.D (2023) Core beliefs shaping attitudes towards the hydrogen industry:
A psychological network analysis. International Conference on Environmental Psychology (ICEP). Aarhus, Denmark.

Scovell, M.D (2023) A psychological network approach to understanding hydrogen-related risk perception. Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) conference. Lund, Sweden.

Scovell, M.D (2023) Assessing Attitudes and Impacts: A Technology Assessment of Hydrogen in Australia. International Association Impact Assessment (IAIA) conference. Kuching, Malaysia.

Scovell, M.D (2023) Explaining Australian attitudes toward hydrogen energy technologies: A psychological network approach. Australian Hydrogen Research Conference (AHRC). Canberra, Australia.

Scovell, M.D (2021) Public Perceptions Towards Hydrogen Energy Technologies Across the Value Chain. Energy Futures 4 (Virtual Conference).

Higher degree studies supported:
Not applicable


October 2023