Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business


Organisation & Professional Development

First Advisor

Angela Wright


In the face of global commitments to decarbonise society by 2050, there is growing excitement surrounding the potential of hydrogen to emerge as a solution to many decarbonisation challenges. A transition to hydrogen as an energy vector in place of fossil fuels such as natural gas will require a significant transformation of existing energy policy, infrastructure, and regulations. While the technical aspects of a potential transition to hydrogen as an energy vector are undergoing large scale research, much of which is moving into the trial phase, it is widely presumed that a transition would be met with the widespread acceptance of hydrogen by the public. This research examines how the public perceives hydrogen as an energy vector in the Republic of Ireland, outlining potential obstacles to its acceptance. This study seeks to address the research question and contribute to knowledge via an interpretive approach employing sequential mixed methods research design combined with a triangulation approach. A detailed literature review was carried out, which informed a quantitative survey of the public with 115 valid responses received. The quantitative aspect of the study was examined thematically using computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software NVivo to identify themes and aid the interpretation of data. The quantitative survey results informed the eight semi-structured qualitative interviews carried out with members of the public to gather more detailed data leading to detailed findings. This study finds that public perceptions of hydrogen as an energy vector are not entirely hostile, with broad acceptance evident, although some opposition to a transition was observed. The two overarching themes of this study is that of safety and cost. Safety is viewed as a prerequisite to any transition, with the public trusting that the safety of hydrogen will be demonstrated before a transition, and a competent authority will act with safety in mind. The cost of a transition to hydrogen as an energy vector is vital to its acceptance by the public. Increased cost to consumers has the potential to result in the widespread rejection of a conversion as concerns regarding cost far outweighed the environmental benefits of hydrogen among the public. This research will be of benefit to policymakers, researchers, gas network operators and businesses with an interest in a transition to hydrogen as an energy vector.

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