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A.J. Hoevanners; C. Kirchsteiger

Interest in the future is not new. Economic constraints and acceptability considerations of today compeldecision-makers from industry and authorities to speculate on possible safety risks originating from ahydrogen 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 performanceof past or current systems. It has become convention to assume that the performance of future systems infuture environments can be accommodated in the uncertainties of such prognostic models resulting fromsensitivity studies. This paper presents an alternative approach to modeling future systems, based onnarratives about the future. Such narratives, based on the actions and interactions of individual "agents", arepowerful means for addressing anxiety about engaging the imagination in order to prepare for events that arelikely to occur, detect critical conditions and to thus achieve desirable outcomes. This is the methodologicalbase 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 apossible future hydrogen economy.