Results of the 2004 Knowledge and Opinions Surveys for the Baseline Knowledge Assessment of the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program

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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 was ... continued below

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Schmoyer, Richard L; Truett, Lorena Faith & Cooper, Christy April 1, 2006.

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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 was 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.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2006/417
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/930734 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 930734
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc901204

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • April 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 4:37 p.m.

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Schmoyer, Richard L; Truett, Lorena Faith & Cooper, Christy. Results of the 2004 Knowledge and Opinions Surveys for the Baseline Knowledge Assessment of the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program, report, April 1, 2006; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc901204/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.