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A Historical Analysis of Hydrogen Economy Research, Development, and Expectations, 1972 to 2020


Global climate change concerns have pushed international governmental actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by adopting cleaner technologies, hoping to transition to a more sustainable society. The hydrogen economy is one potential long-term option for enabling deep decarbonization for the future energy landscape. Progress towards an operating hydrogen economy is discouragingly slow despite global efforts to accelerate it. There are major mismatches between the present situation surrounding the hydrogen economy and previous proposed milestones that are far from being reached. The overall aim of this study is to understand whether there has been significant real progress in the achievement of a hydrogen economy, or whether the current interest is overly exaggerated (hype). This study uses bibliometric analysis and content analysis to historically map the hydrogen economy’s development from 1972 to 2020 by quantifying and analyzing three sets of interconnected data. Findings indicate that interest in the hydrogen economy has significantly progressed over the past five decades based on the growing numbers of academic publications, media coverage, and projects. However, various endogenous and exogenous factors have influenced the development of the hydrogen economy and created hype at different points in time. The consolidated results explore the changing trends and how specific events or actors have influenced the development of the hydrogen economy with their agendas, the emergence of hype cycles, and the expectations of a future hydrogen economy.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Japan

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