National public survey on hydrogen finds widespread support

Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre engaged the University of Queensland to conduct the national survey to better understand public opinion on using hydrogen and it showed widespread support for producing and using hydrogen both in Australia and for export. The results support the activities happening now in every State to develop Australia’s hydrogen industry.

The survey found:
• 65% already support using Hydrogen as a fuel, with 32% undecided. After finding out more about hydrogen this rose to 90% support with only 7% undecided and 3% opposed
• Support for hydrogen was broad-based with similar results across all States and main political party affiliations, with no significant differences, showing broad bi-partisan support
• Respondents who currently use natural gas at home were slightly more supportive of hydrogen than respondents who did not, but the effect size was small which suggests that support for hydrogen is not related to current use of natural gas
• Awareness about hydrogen is growing, with 40% of respondents having already heard about hydrogen in the media, 27% had heard about hydrogen production projects in Australia, and 21% about blending natural gas and hydrogen for domestic use
• 75% of respondents believe climate change is already happening, which is an increase from an earlier 2018 ARENA survey (70.8%)

David Norman, CEO of Future Fuels CRC said, “The survey shows that Australians are already very positive about the economic opportunities that hydrogen energy could bring including jobs and benefits for regional communities. For Australians, safety remains their number one priority and these results support the development of hydrogen with a world-class safety culture that is now being created by Australian industry, governments and regulators.”

Professor Peta Ashworth, who leads the University of Queensland research said “With the mounting pressure to decrease emissions from across multiple sectors, hydrogen has become an important contender for generating new solutions across a number of value chains.

However, the scale that will be required is not well understood or presently discussed with the broader public. Understanding initial responses and what might be required to ensure a social license for the industry is critical. We believe these results help to do that.”

The survey also shows that although only a small proportion of Australians reported being confident about their knowledge of hydrogen, there is clearly a growing awareness of hydrogen as an alternative energy source. It also showed that providing members of the public with factual information about hydrogen helped to strengthen support for those who had previously been undecided.

Read more here.