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Title: Elements of change in the evolution of solid-state hydrogen storage technology
Author: Dite, S. N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 0691
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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The search for satisfycing hydrogen storage materials (HSMs) is in an exploratory phase of development. This phase is associated with large uncertainties, and technological change that is diffcult to anticipate. Nevertheless, it is a common (and necessary) practice to make claims about and form strategies around the perceived prospects of HSMs. Which of these diversely construed anticipations are reliable? This thesis aims to contribute a perspective, theoretically and empirically informed, that is valuable to an objective assessment of the prospects for materials-based hydrogen storage. Instead of offering a simplifed narrative of future developments in hydrogen storage, the exploratory approach taken has addressed important aspects of a complex process. Three important evolutionary principles of technological change - variation, learning, and selection - have been represented. Each chapter draws on a different set of concepts to address diverse questions. I study the extent of variation activity in research, and review prominent directions of search for fitter hydrogen storage materials. I ask about the relationship between progress, and expectations of progress embodied by the research community. I look at expert judgement as a source of bettering our understanding of hydrogen storage prospects. I also explore the possibility of anticipating a subset of the selection pressures, that will determine likely "survivors" among competing concepts. Insights are gained that inform us on hydrogen storage prospects in various dimensions. For example, I argue that the dynamics of expectations is key to understanding the historic "trajectory of progress". An implication of expert foresight is that investments into a portfolio of research trajectories is compelling. A trend of convergence toward compressed hydrogen technology is evident, an option I show to be wholistically superior to solid-state concepts, assuming a variety of selection pressures. In all, the adopted perspective proves a useful framework for thinking about processes of technological change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available