The Diffusion of Hydrogen Technology in the Road Transport Sector in Sweden
Abstract: Carbon emissions are one of the primary drivers of climate change and the transport sector accounts for 24% of the global carbon emissions. A shift within the automobile industry towards more eco-friendly modes of transportation is hence needed. Vehicles powered by hydrogen are a carbon emissions-free mode of transportation and have been identified as a viable approach to de-carbonize the transport sector, yet, the number of hydrogen-powered vehicles on the roads in Sweden as of 2022 is relatively low compared to the rest of the world. The aim of this study was both to identify factors that are important for actors to invest in hydrogen technology within the transport sector, and to identify how the collaboration between different actors was formed during the adoption process. The study uses a multiple-case study research design where the five cases of Storuman, Mariestad, Sandviken, Trelleborg and Ljungby were selected. Data was collected through eleven semi-structured interviews over video calls. The study has examined the diffusion process of hydrogen technology within the transport sector of each case according to the diffusion of innovations theory. An analysis of the diffusion of hydrogen technology has not, to the best of my knowledge, been conducted in the examined cases. Gaining an understanding of these processes can provide guidance for other municipalities or actors who aims to reduce their emissions and can play an important role in achieving Sweden´s objective of becoming the world´s first fossil-free welfare nation. The findings of the study were that investments in hydrogen technology within the transport sector are currently not economically profitable. However, investments in the innovation were still motivated in terms of a relative environmental advantage, reception of financial funding, the will to take a leading role in the energy transition, geographical location, long-term economic benefits and indirect economic benefits which mainly include that the municipality can market themselves as green and progressive in order to attract competent workforce and business opportunities. The study also concluded that local political support is an important pre-condition for a successful adoption of the innovation.
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