skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: The U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Baseline Survey: Assessing Knowledge and opinions about Hydrogen Technology

Abstract

To design and maintain its education program, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program conducted a statistically-valid national survey to measure knowledge and opinions of hydrogen among key target audiences. The Hydrogen Baseline Knowledge Survey provides a reference for designing the DOE hydrogen education strategy and will be used in comparisons with future surveys to measure changes in knowledge and opinions over time. The survey sampled four U.S. populations: (1) public; (2) students; (3) state and local government officials; and (4) potential large-scale hydrogen end-users in three business categories Questions measured technical understanding of hydrogen and opinions about hydrogen safety. Other questions assessed visions of the likelihood of future hydrogen applications and sources of energy information. Several important findings were discovered, including a striking lack of technical understanding across all survey groups, as well as a strong correlation between technical knowlege and opinions about safety: those who demonstrated an understanding of hydrogen technologies expressed the least fear of its safe use.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2]
  1. U.S. Department of Energy
  2. ORNL
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
978242
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 16th World Hydrogen Energy Conference, Lyon, France, 20060613, 20060616
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; BUSINESS; DESIGN; EDUCATION; HYDROGEN; LOCAL GOVERNMENT; SAFETY; TARGETS; Education; US Department of Energy; Hydrogen Survey; Awareness

Citation Formats

Cooper, Christy, Truett, Lorena Faith, and Schmoyer, Richard L. The U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Baseline Survey: Assessing Knowledge and opinions about Hydrogen Technology. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Cooper, Christy, Truett, Lorena Faith, & Schmoyer, Richard L. The U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Baseline Survey: Assessing Knowledge and opinions about Hydrogen Technology. United States.
Cooper, Christy, Truett, Lorena Faith, and Schmoyer, Richard L. Sun . "The U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Baseline Survey: Assessing Knowledge and opinions about Hydrogen Technology". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_978242,
title = {The U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Baseline Survey: Assessing Knowledge and opinions about Hydrogen Technology},
author = {Cooper, Christy and Truett, Lorena Faith and Schmoyer, Richard L},
abstractNote = {To design and maintain its education program, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program conducted a statistically-valid national survey to measure knowledge and opinions of hydrogen among key target audiences. The Hydrogen Baseline Knowledge Survey provides a reference for designing the DOE hydrogen education strategy and will be used in comparisons with future surveys to measure changes in knowledge and opinions over time. The survey sampled four U.S. populations: (1) public; (2) students; (3) state and local government officials; and (4) potential large-scale hydrogen end-users in three business categories Questions measured technical understanding of hydrogen and opinions about hydrogen safety. Other questions assessed visions of the likelihood of future hydrogen applications and sources of energy information. Several important findings were discovered, including a striking lack of technical understanding across all survey groups, as well as a strong correlation between technical knowlege and opinions about safety: those who demonstrated an understanding of hydrogen technologies expressed the least fear of its safe use.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

Save / Share:
  • Data were collected in surveys of four component populations. The purpose was to serve as a reference for designing a hydrogen education program and as a baseline for measuring changes in understanding and awareness over time. Comparisons of the baseline data with future results will be made when the survey is fielded again (2008 and 2011). The methodology was successful in measuring knowledge levels and opinions of the target populations. Because the survey instruments were very similar, comparisons could be made among the target populations. These comparisons showed wide differences in knowledge levels between the government agencies and the othermore » populations. General public, students, and potential large scale end user respondents had a general lack of knowledge about hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. There was a correlation between technical knowledge of hydrogen fuel cell technologies and opinions about the safe use of hydrogen. Respondents who demonstrated a greater understanding of the concepts of a hydrogen economy and hydrogen fuel cell technology expressed less fear about the safe use of hydrogen.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program focuses on overcoming critical barriers to the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell technology. The transition to a new, hydrogen-based energy economy requires an educated human infrastructure. With this in mind, the DOE Hydrogen Program conducted statistical surveys to measure and establish baselines for understanding and awareness about hydrogen, fuel cells, and a hydrogen economy. The baseline data will serve as a reference in designing an education program, and it will be used in comparisons with future survey results (2008 and 2011) to measure changes in understanding and awareness. Scientific sampling wasmore » used to survey four populations: (1) the general public, ages 18 and over; (2) students, ages 12-17; (3) state and local government officials; and (4) potential large-scale hydrogen users. It was decided that the survey design should include about 1,000 individuals in each of the general public and student categories, about 250 state and local officials, and almost 100 large-scale end users. The survey questions were designed to accomplish specific objectives. Technical questions measured technical understanding and awareness of hydrogen technology. Opinion questions measured attitudes about safety, cost, the environment, and convenience, as well as the likelihood of future applications of hydrogen technology. For most of the questions, "I don't know" or "I have no opinion" were acceptable answers. Questions about information sources assessed how energy technology information is received. The General Public and Student Survey samples were selected by random digit dialing. Potential large-scale end users were selected by random sampling. The State and Local Government Survey was of the entire targeted population of government officials (not a random sample). All four surveys were administered by computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). For each population, the length of the survey was less than 15 minutes. Design of an education program is beyond the scope of the report, and comparisons of the baseline data with future results will not be made until the survey is fielded again. Nevertheless, a few observations about the data are salient: For every population group, average scores on the technical knowledge questions were lower for the fuel cell questions than for the other technical questions. State and local officials expressed more confidence in hydrogen safety than large-scale end users, and they were much more confident than either the general public or students. State and local officials also scored much higher on the technical questions. Technical understanding appears to influence opinions about safety. For the General Public, Student, and Large-Scale End User Surveys, respondents with above-average scores on the eleven technical questions were more likely to have an opinion about hydrogen technology safety, and for those respondents who expressed an opinion, their opinion was more likely to be positive. These differences were statistically significant. Using criteria of "Sometimes" or "Frequently" to describe usage, respondents rated media sources for obtaining energy information. The general public and students responded that television is the primary media source of energy information. State and local officials and large-scale end users indicated that their primary media sources are newspapers, the Internet, and science and technology journals. In order of importance, the general public values safety, cost, environment, and convenience. The Large-Scale End User Survey suggests that there is presently little penetration of hydrogen technology; nor is there much planning for it.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) designed and conducted statistical surveys of four distinct populations in the United States during calendar year 2004. The objectives of the surveys were to measure knowledge levels and determine opinions about the use and safety of hydrogen and fuel cells. Results of the surveys establish a baseline for use in developing and guiding an education program. The surveys will be repeated in the future to ascertain any changes in knowledge and opinions over time. The surveys were designed to sample 1,000 individuals in the general public,more » ages 18 and over; 1,000 students, ages 12-17; 250 state and local government officials; and 100 potential large-scale end users. For every population group, opinions about the safe use of hydrogen as an energy carrier were closely related to technical understanding. Individuals who scored higher on the technical knowledge questions were more likely to have an opinion about hydrogen technology safety and the opinion was more likely to be positive. The methodology was successful in measuring knowledge levels and opinions of the target populations. Because the survey instruments were very similar, comparisons could be made among the target populations. When repeated in the future, the survey results will be able to compare knowledge levels and opinions about hydrogen and fuel cells to the current results. Although knowledge-assessment surveys cannot always pinpoint causality of changes in knowledge and opinions, subsequent surveys identical in methodology to the baseline surveys can measure changes from baseline knowledge levels.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Program (FCT) conducts comprehensive efforts to enable the widespread commercialization of fuel cells in diverse sectors of the economy - with emphasis on applications that will most effectively strengthen our nation's energy security and improve our stewardship of the environment. Expanding the use of fuel cells requires a sustained education effort to lay the foundation for future commercial market introduction. The FCT education subprogram seeks to facilitate fuel cell demonstrations and support future commercialization by providing technically accurate and objective information to key target audiences both directly and indirectly involved inmore » the use of fuel cells today. These key target audiences include a public that is familiar and comfortable with using a new fuel, state and local government officials who understand the near-term realities and long-term potential of the technology, an educated business and industry component, and trained safety and codes officials. With this in mind, the DOE FCT program established an education key activity to address the training and informational needs of target audiences that have a role in the near-term transition and the long-term development of a hydrogen economy. Whether or not changes can be attributed to the program, designing and maintaining an effective education program entails measuring baseline awareness and periodically measuring what has been learned. The purpose of this report is to document the data and results of statistical surveys undertaken in 2008 and 2009 to measure and establish changes in understanding and awareness about hydrogen and fuel cell technologies since a baseline survey was conducted in 2004. This report is essentially a data book, a digest of the survey data and an exposition of changes in knowledge of and opinions about hydrogen and fuel cell technology since 2004. Many conclusions can be made from the survey data. However, the purpose here is not to draw the conclusions, but rather to summarize the data in a way that facilitates drawing them. It is envisioned that the same statistical surveys will be fielded again in approximately three years.« less
  • This report presents results of a 2008/2009 survey of hydrogen and fuel cell awareness conducted for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The 2008/2009 survey follows up on a similar DOE survey conducted in 2004, measuring levels of awareness and understanding of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in four populations: (1) the general public, (2) students, (3) personnel in state and local governments, and (4) potential end users of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in business and industry. The 2008/2009 survey includes these four groups and adds a fifth group, safety and code officials. The same survey methods were usedmore » for both surveys; the 2008/2009 survey report includes a comparison of 2004 and 2008/2009 findings. Information from these surveys will be used to enhance hydrogen and fuel cell education strategies.« less