The Challenge of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Edited by Stefano Pogutz, Angeloantonio Russo and Paolo Migliavacca
Chapter 5: Networks Dynamics, Innovation and Fuel Cell Technologies: Shaping a New Industry
Stefano Pogutz, Angeloantonio Russo and Paolo Migliavacca INTRODUCTION In recent years increasing attention has been devoted to hydrogen as a new energy carrier and to the set of new technologies that may determine its future diffusion into everyday use. A large body of literature questions the future of hydrogen from scientific, technical and economic perspectives. Magazines, newspapers and media in general are captivated by the potential of this small and light molecule, broadly projecting about a future hydrogen-based society. Governments and policy makers have ploughed through a large number of policy papers and official documents all focused on the possibilities and drawbacks if hydrogen technologies do catch on (CEC, 2003; DOE, 2006; McDowall and Eames, 2006; Solomon and Banerjee, 2006). There are reasons why the prospect of a hydrogen energy economy is so alluring: its effectiveness at the local level in improving air quality and, at the global level, in eliminating greenhouse gases and environmental pollution. It also promises to go a long way in the development of more sustainable energy systems. Hydrogen thus promises energy security and independence from oil and gas reserves concentrated in sensitive geographical areas. Further, the proliferation of hydrogen use will bring about a transition from a centralized energy network, to a decentralized, democratic and more equitable one (DOE, 2002). But the road to such desirable innovation is fraught with a number of barriers and constraints.1 First, there are several technological gaps that must be addressed to improve the overall performance of hydrogen technologies and...
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