The social acceptance by the general public, the stakeholders and the potential customers of HFC projects and applications across Europe is widely recognized as a key dimension in the sustainable implementation of HFC technologies. If hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are to play a significant role in Europe’s new energy and transport systems, a careful consideration of social acceptance issues is needed.

Aberdeen H2 vehicles and bus fuelling station_web

Part of Aberdeen’s hydrogen vehicle fleet, and BOC’s hydrogen production and bus refuelling station in Aberdeen

The issue of how the public and potential users perceive and respond to hydrogen technologies has been the objective of past research. Two main findings of this research have been, first, that public attitudes towards hydrogen technology vary across populations and time, influenced by a complex set of factors; and second, that gathering reliable data on the public attitudes towards hydrogen technologies requires careful conceptual and methodological considerations.

In general terms, current research on the social acceptance of hydrogen technologies faces three major challenges:

  • Regarding the acceptance by the general public and future customers
  • Regarding the levels of awareness and acceptance of the key stakeholders
  • How to properly understand the acceptance process


Hydrogen technologies are being tested and implemented in a number of demonstration projects across European cities and regions. The identification and understanding of the social acceptance of hydrogen technologies may help officials, planners, developers and the public identify and address potential conflicts of interest and misunderstandings that may accompany development. Understanding and integrating the public needs and concerns with the management of hydrogen projects could be crucial for the successful development of hydrogen technologies.