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A.J. Hoevenaars; C. Kirchsteiger

Interest in the future is not new. Economic constraints and acceptability considerations of today compel decision-makers from industry and authorities to speculate on possible safety risks originating from a hydrogen economy developed in the future. Tools that support thinking about the long-term consequences oftoday's actions and resulting technical systems are usually prognostic, based on data from past performance of past or current systems. It has become convention to assume that the performance of future systems in future environments can be accommodated in the uncertainties of such prognostic models resulting from sensitivity studies. This paper presents an alternative approach to modeling future systems, based on narratives about the future. Such narratives, based on the actions and interactions of individual "agents", are powerful means for addressing anxiety about engaging the imagination in order to prepare for events that are likely to occur, detect critical conditions and to thus achieve desirable outcomes. This is the methodological base of Agent-Based Models (ABM) and this paper will present the approach, discuss its strengths andweaknesses, and present a preliminary application to modeling safety risks related to energy scenarios in a possible future hydrogen economy.

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