The role of attitudes in technology acceptance management: Reflections on the case of hydrogen fuel cells in Europe

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This manuscript considers the implications of prior attitudes for public-facing communication campaigns relating to hydrogen technologies in Europe. Findings from a survey of publics in seven EU countries indicate low attitude strength and low stability of attitudes towards hydrogen fuel cells for stationary and mobile applications, as well as country differences. While prior attitudes are known to be influential in technology acceptance, they appear to be less so at the early stage of technology diffusion, when public knowledge and awareness are relatively low. This in turn implies that while psychological theories are proving useful in consumer-citizen aspects of socio-technical transitions research in particular, their context-specific application and further empirical testing are required. The findings imply that information campaigns would be a valuable tool at this early stage of hydrogen technologies, being likely to increase awareness for those with low or no knowledge and to positively influence attitudes towards the technology. Assuming higher diffusion of the technologies in future, however, communication strategies would need to be adapted: stronger commitment towards particular attitudes may lead to ‘biased’ information processing and evaluation. Regular monitoring on a country-specific level in this regard is thus recommended, reflecting country differences in the degree of diffusion of hydrogen technologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2018

Bibliographical note

This paper includes work undertaken for project Hyacinth, which received funding from the FCH JU (Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) Implementation Plan 2013 that was adopted by the FCH JU Governing Board on 19th of December 2012, under grant agreement no. 621228 .