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Cautiously Optimistic: Understanding the Australian Public’s Response to the Hydrogen Opportunity


The increased activity across the technical world for developing hydrogen has not gone unnoticed at the political level. However, there remains a gap in understanding of how the general public will respond to the development of such an emergent industry. Recognising this gap, we undertook ten focus groups (N=92) and a nationally representative online survey (N=2785) with the Australian public to better understand their response to hydrogen and the opportunities it presents for export and domestic use. In both focus groups and the national survey, when Australians first heard the word hydrogen they were most likely to respond with a neutral response. For example in the survey 81% responded with words such as gas, energy, water; with only 13% giving negative associations (e.g. bomb, explosion, Hindenburg); and 3% positive (e.g. clean, future). Males were more likely to be supportive of hydrogen than females. Those who answered more knowledge questions correctly were also more supportive. The main benefits associated with the use of hydrogen technologies centred around the environment - reduced greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation potential were key benefits. With safety, cost and environmental impacts - particularly concerns around pollution, emissions and water use - being the most frequently cited concerns about the production and use of hydrogen. This presentation focuses on Australian attitudes to the developing hydrogen export opportunity and also for domestic use. Implications for industry and policy makers will be discussed in light of these Australians responses.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: Australia

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Cautiously optimistic- understanding the Australian public’s response to the Hydrogen opportunity

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