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Towards an Understanding of Hydrogen Supply Chains: A Structured Literature Review Regarding Sustainability Evaluation


Hydrogen technologies have received increased attention in research and development to foster the shift towards carbon-neutral energy systems. Depending on the specific production techniques, transportation concepts, and application areas, hydrogen supply chains (HSCs) can be anything from part of the energy transition problem to part of the solution: Even more than battery-driven electric mobility, hydrogen is a polyvalent technology and can be used in very different contexts with specific positive or negative sustainability impacts. Thus, a detailed sustainability evaluation is crucial for decision making in the context of hydrogen technology and its diverse application fields. This article provides a comprehensive, structured literature review in the context of HSCs along the triple bottom line dimensions of environmental, economic, and social sustainability, analyzing a total of 288 research papers. As a result, we identify research gaps mostly regarding social sustainability and the supply chain stages of hydrogen distribution and usage. We suggest further research to concentrate on these gaps, thus strengthening our understanding of comprehensive sustainability evaluations for HSCs, especially in social sustainability evaluation. In addition, we provide an additional approach for discussion by adding literature review results from neighboring fields, highlighting the joint challenges and insights regarding sustainability evaluation.

Funding source: The project on which this manuscript is partially based was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the grant number 03WIR5201C.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Germany

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