Patrick Meyer


The political instability of acquiring oversea oil resources, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the desire for inexpensive energy have recently driven a shift of focus towards hydrogen energy. It has become increasingly evident that there are significant barriers facing the development of a hydrogen-based energy system – a system commonly referred to as the “hydrogen economy”. The small quantities of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that have been deployed to date are not numerous enough to facilitate the growth of a substantial refueling infrastructure. Additionally, the underdeveloped and extremely limited infrastructure has imposed significant convenience costs upon consumers. These convenience costs, in turn, inhibit further purchases of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – creating what has been dubbed the “chicken and egg” phenomenon. To analyze the vehicle-infrastructure chicken and egg phenomenon and assist in the creation of future hydrogen-related policies, this thesis presents the H2VISION systems model. H2VISION is designed to explore: (1) the role of various government policies aimed at hydrogen deployment (vehicle procurement, monetary incentives, or mass-station building); (2) the specific role of government as a first-use and innovative adopter of hydrogen technologies; (3) the effect of consumer preferences regarding vehicles and convenience costs regarding infrastructure on hydrogen markets; and (4) the short- and long-term results of mainstream hydrogen technology diffusion. Using H2VISION, multiple scenarios with varying demographic, market, and policy conditions are analyzed with an aim to isolate specific factors inhibiting the growth hydrogen markets. It is found that investments in infrastructure may yield more rapid market growth in comparison to investments in vehicles. However, it is concluded that funding cannot be applied solely to infrastructure and instead must be systematically applied to all aspects of hydrogen markets (vehicles, fuel, infrastructure, etc.). Only with a systematic and widespread application of funding will government policies facilitate the successful growth of the hydrogen economy.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hydrogen cars--Research; Hydrogen cars--Fuel systems; Hydrogen cars--Government policy--United States; Traffic engineering; Infrastructure (Economics)

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of Science Technology and Society/Public Policy (CLA)


Decotis, Paul

Advisor/Committee Member

Foltz, Franz


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TL229.H9 M49 2006


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