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In the Green? Perceptions of Hydrogen Production Methods Among the Norwegian Public


This article presents findings from a representative survey, fielded through the Norwegian Citizen Panel, examining public perceptions of hydrogen fuel and its different production methods. Although several countries, including Norway, have strategies to increase the production of hydrogen fuel, our results indicate that hydrogen as an energy carrier, and its different production methods, are still unknown to a large part of the public. A common misunderstanding seems to be confusing ‘hydrogen fuel’ in general with environmentally friendly ‘green hydrogen’. Results from a survey experiment (N = 1906) show that production method is important for public acceptance. On a five-point acceptance scale, respondents score on average 3.9 for ‘green’ hydrogen, which is produced from renewable energy sources. The level of acceptance is significantly lower for ‘blue’ (3.2) and ‘grey’ (2.3) hydrogen when respondents are informed that these are produced from coal, oil, or natural gas. Public support for hydrogen fuel in general, as well as the different production methods, is also related to their level of worry about climate change, gender, and political affiliation. Widespread misunderstandings regarding ‘green’ hydrogen production could potentially fuel public resistance as new ‘blue’ or ‘grey’ projects develop. Our results indicate a need for clearer communication from the government and developers regarding production methods to avoid distrust and potential public backfire.

Funding source: This work includes work undertaken for the project “Liquid hydrogen to decarbonize maritime transport in Norway”, which received funding from the Norwegian Research Council in 2020 under project number 310032.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Norway

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