Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could be mobile power plants

March 30, 2016 1 By Alicia Moore
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Researchers believe that fuel cell vehicles could be used for more than transportation

Fuel cell vehicles may be more than simple transportation machines, according to researchers from the Delft University of Technology. These vehicles make use of hydrogen fuel cells , which produce electrical power through the consumption of hydrogen. These energy systems are being used by several automakers to power a new generation of clean vehicles. They could also be used to provide electrical power for various other purposes, something that companies like Toyota and Honda had experimented with in the past.

Research team uses modified fuel cell system to show how vehicles could be mobile energy systems

Researchers from the Delft University of Technology believe that fuel cell vehicles could function as a type of power plant on wheels. The research team from the university have installed an electrical outlet in a Hyundai ix35, which is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell. Various appliances can be plugged into this outlet, drawing the electricity they need from the vehicle’s fuel cell system. Researchers believe that fuel cell vehicles could be useful for much more than transportation. The team believes that those that own fuel cell vehicles only use these vehicles for transportation 5% of the time and, unlike conventional vehicles, fuel cell vehicles can generate electricity without traveling.

Modified fuel cell could power approximately 10 homes

Hydrogen Fuel Vehicles - Green powerThe research team also modified the fuel cell within the Hyundai ix35 they were experimenting with. The modified fuel cell has an energy capacity of 10 kilowatts, which is enough to power approximately 10 average homes. The researchers also made it possible for the fuel cell system to be used to distribute electrical power directly to the energy grid, which could compliment the energy being provided by solar and wind projects.

Fuel cells have been used as emergency energy systems in the past

Hydrogen fuel cells have been used for backup power for many years in various industries. These energy systems have shown themselves capable of providing reliable electrical power, especially in harsh conditions  where conventional forms of energy can fail. As such, they could be quite useful in making vehicles much more than transportation machines.