Reframing sustainable transport: Exploring hydrogen strategies using integrated sustainability assessment
The paper reports a case study of induced innovation, sustainable technology and transition management. The case study concerns the role of hydrogen in sustainable transport in Europe and uses a novel assessment process, Integrated Sustainability Assessment (ISA). ISA is a cyclical, participatory process of scoping, envisioning, experimenting and learning through which a shared interpretation of sustainability for a specific context is developed and applied in an integrated manner to explore solutions to persistent problems. ISA is strategic, constructive and potentially transformative. Its key role is to explore the problem-solving potential of framing conditions other than those in place, such as alternative technologies, institutions and policy regimes. The case study uses stakeholder workshops to obtain different perspectives on sustainable transport. It uses the ASTRA model to explore impacts and trade-offs implied by alternative transition strategies. Results reveal wide consensus that sustainable transport requires a diversified and renewable primary energy supply and diversified delivery of mobility solutions. International competitiveness is a serious economic/social concern. Hydrogen fuels and electrochemical conversion technologies could contribute to sustainability, but outcomes depend on how and where hydrogen is produced, the cost and technical performances of technologies, how these are improved, and whether the technologies induce new resource/sustainability constraints.
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research