Scenarios, roadmaps and similar foresight methods are used to cope with uncertainty in areas with long planning horizons, such as energy policy, and research into the future of hydrogen energy is no exception. Such studies can play an important role in the development of shared visions of the future: creating powerful expectations of the potential of emerging technologies and mobilising resources necessary for their realisation.
This paper reviews the hydrogen futures literature, using a six-fold typology to map the state of the art of scenario construction. The paper then explores the expectations embodied in the literature, through the ‘answers’ it provides to questions about the future of hydrogen. What are the drivers, barriers and challenges facing the development of a hydrogen economy? What are the key technological building blocks required? In what kinds of futures does hydrogen become important? What does a hydrogen economy look like, how and when does it evolve, and what does it achieve?
The literature describes a diverse range of possible futures, from decentralised systems based upon small-scale renewables, through to centralised systems reliant on nuclear energy or carbon-sequestration. There is a broad consensus that the hydrogen economy emerges only slowly, if at all, under ‘Business as Usual’ scenarios. Rapid transitions to hydrogen occur only under conditions of strong governmental support combined with, or as a result of, major ‘discontinuities’ such as shifts in society's environmental values, ‘game changing’ technological breakthrough, or rapid increases in the oil price or speed and intensity of climate change.
Keywords: Scenario building; Hydrogen economy; Roadmapping』
2. Review methology
3. A typology of hydrogen futures
3.2. Exploratory scenarios
3.3. Technical scenarios
3.5. Backcasts & pathways
4. What does the literature say about a hydrogen future?
4.1. What are the drivers of a hydrogen economy?
4.2. Barriers & challenges
4.3. In what kinds of future does hydrogen become important?
4.3.1. Does a hydrogen future rely on ‘step-changes’?
4.4. What does the hydrogen economy look like?
4.4.1. Decentralised architectures
4.4.2. Centralised architectures
4.4.3. Each architecture is dependent on key technological building blocks
4.5. Evolution of hydrogen economies
4.6. Early learning: the importance of niche markets in technology development
4.7. When does a hydrogen economy emerge?
4.9. What does a hydrogen economy achieve?
5. Discussion and conclusions
5.1. Futures in hydrogen: the state of the art
5.1.1. What is wrong with the hydrogen futurist's toolbox?
5.1.2. What can we learn from the hydrogen futures literature?
5.2. Conclusion: no hydrogen economy, but many hydrogen economics
Fig. 3. Shows estimated dates for a transition to a fuel cell based transport system.
〔McDowall,W. and Eames,M.(2006): Forecasts, scenarios, visions, backcasts and roadmaps to the hydrogen economy: A review of the hydrogen futures literature. Energy Policy, 34, 1236-1250.から〕