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  • 1.
    Hultman, Martin
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Nordlund, Christer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Energizing Technology: Expectations of Fuel Cells and the Hydrogen Economy, 1990–20052013In: History & Technology, ISSN 0734-1512, E-ISSN 1477-2620, Vol. 29, no 1, p. 33-53Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Although fuel cells have been considered promising technology since the nineteenth century, fresh expectations – expressed by engineers, company leaders, politicians and journalists – began to flourish in the 1990s later on associated with the vision of a ‘hydrogen economy.’ Inspired by research in the history and sociology of expectations, the present paper analyzes this recent history of global fuel cells and hydrogen potentials as played out in the USA, EU, and especially Sweden. It is demonstrated that automotive shows, the mass media, and forecast projects were significant arenas in promoting and circulating the idea that fuel cells represented energy efficient and clean technology that almost by necessity would be utilized in the ‘vehicles of the future.’ This paper also highlights the framing of water both as a potential source of energy and as a symbolic purifying bath that would restore an environmentally friendly society, interpreted as an ecomodern utopia.

  • 2.
    Mårald, Erland
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Methanol as future fuel: efforts to develope alternative fuls in Sweden after the oil crisis2010In: History & Technology, ISSN 0734-1512, E-ISSN 1477-2620, Vol. 26, no 4, p. 335-357Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The 1973 Oil Crisis was a wake‐up call for Sweden. Sweden’s high reliance on foreign energy supply and the lack of domestic fossil energy sources hit private motoring hard. In the aftermath of the crisis, methanol was seen as a promising alternative fuel. This article analyzes how, who, and for what reasons methanol fuel was promoted in Sweden in the 1970s and early 1980s. Furthermore, the study places the efforts to establish methanol as fuel in an international framework and in the broader context of the Energy Program and the government’s objective to plan for a new energy future for Sweden. This article especially examines forecasting motor fuels and automobiles and how foresight was used in relation to the methanol campaign. The article argues that in the case of the Swedish methanol campaign the upcoming development in the energy sector was mostly described as smooth and calculable. Both the state and the industry planned for a post‐petroleum era, in which methanol fuel played a vital role. However, they were unwilling to take any decisive step until circumstances were right, but since circumstances never seemed appropriate, methanol as a fuel was always deferred to a distant future.

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