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Safety and social licensing

Thinking about safety and social licensing related to hydrogen.
A small bore hydrogen system with safety signage at Deakin's research facility in Warrnambool, Australia.
© Deakin University

Safety is a prominent challenge around the use of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is a highly flammable gas and like any fuel source, requires careful handling and storage. Ensuring the safety of hydrogen infrastructure and applications is a key challenge. Developing appropriate standards and regulations, including safety standards and regulations around the transportation and storage of hydrogen, is essential.

Many regulations will require modernisation to support the use of future fuels within Australia’s energy networks. For example, current regulations for Australia’s gas infrastructure were designed for a natural gas only network system and are not always suitable for hydrogen.

It is also important to consider social license, or how well something is accepted by a community. The general public may not be aware of the potential benefits of hydrogen and may have concerns about its safety and environmental impact. Education and awareness campaigns are needed to help increase public acceptance.

In 2021, a national public survey of over three thousand Australians found that 65% of Australians already support using hydrogen as a fuel.

That support increased to 90% once respondents were provided with more facts about hydrogen and its uses.

The main results were the following.

  • Safety is the number one priority for Australians to ensure the development of a successful hydrogen industry and will require adequate regulations are in place to provide confidence.
  • Australians are positive toward the economic opportunities hydrogen might bring, such as jobs and benefits especially for regional communities.
  • Provision of factual information during the survey helped to strengthen support for those who had previously expressed no opinion, however it did not influence those who were strongly opposed.
  • Green hydrogen continues to be the preferred generation source (compared to other production methods combined with carbon capture and storage).


Martin, V, Ashworth, P, Petrova, S, Wade, B, Witt, K (2021) Public Perceptions of Hydrogen 2021 National Survey Results, Future Fuels CRC.

© Deakin University
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