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Initial infrastructure development strategies for the transition to sustainable mobility

Listed author(s):
  • Floris J. Huétink
  • Alexander van der Vooren
  • Floortje Alkemade


Registered author(s):

    Within the Dutch transition policy framework, the transition to hydrogen-based transport is seen as a promising option towards a sustainable transport system. This transition requires the build-up of a hydrogen infrastructure as a certain level of refuelling infrastructure is necessary before (even the most innovative or environmentally friendly) consumers will substitute their conventional car for a hydrogen vehicle (Dunn 2002). This is often referred to as the chicken-and-egg problem of infrastructure development. However, the build-up of infrastructure is costly and irreversible and it is therefore important for policymakers to gain insight in the minimally required levels of initial infrastructure that will still set off the transition. In this paper we therefore present a diffusion model for the analysis of the effects of different strategies for hydrogen infrastructure development on hydrogen vehicle fleet penetration. Within the simulation model, diffusion patterns for hydrogen vehicles were created through the interactions of consumers, refuelling stations and technological learning. We compare our results to the benchmark patterns derived from the hydrogen roadmap. The strategies for initial infrastructure development differ with respect to the placement (urban or nationwide) and the number of initial refuelling stations. Simulation results indicate that when taking social learning between consumers into account, diffusion is generally lower than in the benchmark patterns. Furthermore, simulation results indicate that a nationwide deployment strategy generally leads to faster diffusion of hydrogen vehicles than a strategy focused on urban areas. These demand side aspects of the transition to sustainable mobility are considered especially important in the Netherlands since besides the high cost associated with infrastructure investment the Netherlands do not have a domestic car industry so that policy measures will most likely focus on infrastructure and consumers. Increased insights in the relation between infrastructure development strategies and hydrogen vehicle diffusion are thus necessary to further manage the transition to sustainable mobility.

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    Paper provided by Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies in its series Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series with number 09-05.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2009
    Date of revision: Mar 2009
    Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0905
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    1. Malte Schwoon, 2005. "Simulating the Adoption of Fuel Cell Vehicles," Working Papers FNU-59, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Feb 2006.
    2. Mans, Pieter & Alkemade, Floortje & van der Valk, Tessa & Hekkert, Marko P., 2008. "Is cluster policy useful for the energy sector? Assessing self-declared hydrogen clusters in the Netherlands," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1375-1385, April.
    3. Floortje Alkemade & Koen Frenken & Marko Hekkert & Malte Schwoon, 2009. "A complex systems methodology to transition management," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 527-543, August.
    4. Koen Frenken, 2006. "Technological innovation and complexity theory," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 137-155.
    5. Malte Schwoon, 2006. "Simulating the adoption of fuel cell vehicles," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 435-472, October.
    6. Simona Cantono & Gerald Silverberg, 2008. "A percolation model of eco-innovation diffusion: the relationship between diffusion, learning economies and subsidies," MERIT Working Papers 025, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. Flynn, Peter C., 2002. "Commercializing an alternate vehicle fuel: lessons learned from natural gas for vehicles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 613-619, June.
    8. Joshua M. Epstein & Robert L. Axtell, 1996. "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550253, July.
    9. Floortje Alkemade & Carolina Castaldi, 2005. "Strategies for the Diffusion of Innovations on Social Networks," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 3-23, February.
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