SAFE, as an interdisciplinary project, also seeks to enable a clear path towards the use of ammonia as an alternative fuel. One of the main barriers, recognised by industrials and researchers, is the Public Perception to the use of a toxic, smelly chemical. In order to answer this important question, SAFE has engaged with the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University to unravel the complexity of the subject behind the public perception of ammonia as an energy vector. Miss Andrea Mercado Guati, current PhD candidate at Cardiff University, has taken over the task to recognise the intricate problem of using ammonia in cities, countryside and isolated regions. Her work will be paramount to determine if ammonia can (or cannot) be used as a globally deployed fuel for power, transport, heat and propulsion.
While technological development has been focused on achieving more reliable, efficient and safe energy vectors, social sciences studies have been analysing the role of public attitudes to these developments in order to secure a future for zero-carbon alternatives. Public perception is a key element for the transition to renewable energies. These technologies can offer many benefits for both people and the environment, but if people are not willing to accept a new technology, then the development might be threatened. For this reason, it is fundamental to understand people’s beliefs and attitudes at any stage of the technological process. In addition, for upstream technologies like ammonia, where its effectiveness, cost and risks are uncertain, public perception studies can highlight ethical and value issues people consider important.