Volume 18: Sustainable Energy Solutions for a Post-COVID Recovery towards a Better Future: Part I

Hydrogen Hopes for UK Homes? A Theoretical Approach to Breakdown Sociotechnical Barriers Joel A. Gordon, Nazmiye Balta-Ozkan, Seyed Ali Nabavi



The feasibility of the global energy transition may rest on the ability of nations to harness hydrogen’s potential for cross-sectoral decarbonization. At the national level, hydrogen can help mitigate the carbon footprint of the residential sector, especially in countries historically reliant on natural gas for heating and cooking. Despite cause for optimism, the domestic hydrogen transition faces multiple barriers, which reflect the broader challenges of deploying hydrogen technologies at scale across the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors. However, to date, scholars have scarcely examined how barriers such as safety, costs, and regulation may converge and interact. This deficit is especially pronounced in the case of Hydrogen Homes (HHs), which has a brief research history limited mostly to the UK context. Adopting a sociotechnical transition approach grounded in multi-level thinking, this paper proposes a theoretical framework for addressing the multi-dimensional challenges of the domestic hydrogen transition. Applying this framework to the UK context, this paper highlights distinct interrelationships that cut across sociotechnical dimensions, which will need to be confronted if ‘hydrogen hopes’ are to be realized.

Keywords domestic hydrogen, hydrogen-fueled appliances, Multi-Level Perspective, sociotechnical systems, sociotechnical barriers, hydrogen transition

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