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Hydrogen, a less disruptive pathway for domestic heat? Exploratory findings from public perceptions research

Thomas, Gareth ORCID:, Pidgeon, Nicholas ORCID: and Henwood, Karen ORCID: 2023. Hydrogen, a less disruptive pathway for domestic heat? Exploratory findings from public perceptions research. Cleaner Production Letters 5 , 100047. 10.1016/j.clpl.2023.100047

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The disruption associated with heat decarbonisation has been identified as a key opportunity for hydrogen technologies in temperate countries and regions where established distribution infrastructure and familiarity with natural gas boilers predominate. A key element of such claims is the empirically untested belief that citizens will prefer to minimise disruption and perceive hydrogen to be less disruptive than the network upgrades and retrofit measures needed to support electric and other low carbon heating technologies. This article reports on exploratory deliberative research with residents of Cardiff, Wales which examined public perceptions of heating disruptions. Our findings suggest that concerns over public responses to disruption may be overstated, particularly as they relate to construction and road excavation for network upgrade. Disruptions arising from permanent changes to building fabric may be more problematic for heat pump retrofit, however these may be greatly overshadowed by anxieties over the cost implications of moving to hydrogen fuel. Furthermore, the biographical patterning of citizen preferences raises significant questions for hydrogen roll-out strategies relying on regionalised network conversion. We conclude by arguing that far from a non-disruptive alternative to electrification, hydrogen risks being seen as posing substantial disruptions to precarious household finances and lifestyles.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 2666-7916
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 September 2023
Date of Acceptance: 25 September 2023
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2023 14:15

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