Symbolic convergence and the hydrogen economy
This article documents that the hydrogen economy continues to attract significant attention among politicians, the media, and some academics. We believe that an explanation lies in the way that the hydrogen economy fulfills psychological and cultural needs related to a future world where energy is abundant, cheap, and pollution-free, a "fantasy" that manifests itself with the idea that society can continue to operate without limits imposed by population growth and the destruction of the environment. The article begins by explaining its research methodology consisting of two literature reviews, research interviews of energy experts, and the application of symbolic convergence theory, a general communications theory about the construction of rhetorical fantasies. We then identify a host of socio-technical challenges to explain why the creation of a hydrogen economy would present immense (and possibly intractable) obstacles, an argument supplemented by our research interviews. Next, we employ symbolic convergence theory to identify five prevalent fantasy themes and rhetorical visions--independence, patriotism, progress, democratization, and inevitability--in academic and public discussions in favor of the hydrogen economy. We conclude by offering implications for scholarship relating to energy policy more broadly.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Penner, S.S., 2006. "Steps toward the hydrogen economy," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 33-43.
- Taanman, Mattijs & Groot, Arend de & Kemp, René & Verspagen, Bart, 2006. "Diffusion Paths for Micro Cogeneration Using Hydrogen in the Netherlands," MERIT Working Papers 025, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
- Clark II, Woodrow W. & Rifkin, Jeremy, 2006. "A green hydrogen economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 2630-2639, November.
- Edwards, P.P. & Kuznetsov, V.L. & David, W.I.F. & Brandon, N.P., 2008. "Hydrogen and fuel cells: Towards a sustainable energy future," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4356-4362, December.
- Hisschemoller, Matthijs & Bode, Ries & van de Kerkhof, Marleen, 2006. "What governs the transition to a sustainable hydrogen economy? Articulating the relationship between technologies and political institutions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1227-1235, July.
- McDowall, William & Eames, Malcolm, 2006. "Forecasts, scenarios, visions, backcasts and roadmaps to the hydrogen economy: A review of the hydrogen futures literature," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1236-1250, July.
- Blanchette Jr., Stephen, 2008. "A hydrogen economy and its impact on the world as we know it," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 522-530, February.
- S.R. Osmani & B.B. Bajracharya, 2008. "Nepal," Chapters, in: Handbook on the South Asian Economies, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Clark, Woodrow W. & Rifkin, Jeremy & O'Connor, Todd & Swisher, Joel & Lipman, Tim & Rambach, Glen, 2005. "Hydrogen energy stations: along the roadside to the hydrogen economy," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 41-50, March.
- Clark II, Woodrow W., 2008. "The green hydrogen paradigm shift: Energy generation for stations to vehicles," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 117-129, June.
- Doll, Claus & Wietschel, Martin, 2008. "Externalities of the transport sector and the role of hydrogen in a sustainable transport vision," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 4069-4078, November.
- Saxena, R.C. & Seal, Diptendu & Kumar, Satinder & Goyal, H.B., 2008. "Thermo-chemical routes for hydrogen rich gas from biomass: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 12(7), pages 1909-1927, September.
- Tseng, Phillip & Lee, John & Friley, Paul, 2005. "A hydrogen economy: opportunities and challenges," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 30(14), pages 2703-2720.
- Solomon, Barry D. & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2006. "A global survey of hydrogen energy research, development and policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 781-792, May.
- Sherif, S.A. & Barbir, Frano & Veziroglu, T.N., 2005. "Towards a Hydrogen Economy," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 62-76, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:1999-2012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.