Rapidly diffusing innovation: Whether the history of the Internet points the way for hydrogen energy
Bellaby, P., Flynn, R. and Ricci, M. (2012) Rapidly diffusing innovation: Whether the history of the Internet points the way for hydrogen energy. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 25 (3). pp. 322-336. ISSN 1351-1610
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13511610.2012.685381
This paper identifies conditions for the rapid diffusion of what may be part of the solution for global sustainable energy – hydrogen – by drawing a comparison with the contemporary history of the Internet. The Cold War drove the take-off of the Internet and state regulation ensured that the market on which its rapid diffusion came to depend was not controlled by corporations. To take-off and start to diffuse, hydrogen energy could similarly have to be considered a “public good”. However, the comparison with the Internet reveals differences too. The Internet diffused rapidly among the public at low cost to individual users, starting in the mid 1980s and kicking off in the 1990s. To achieve affordable hydrogen transport in the long term, many drivers might have to forgo cars for public transport. Moreover, global sustainable energy demands cooperation between nations rather than the conflict that spurred the Internet.