Hydrogen fuel cells could help solve African energy crisis

July 2, 2014 0 By Alicia Moore

Hydrogen fuel cells Africa

Fuel cells could be used to bring reliable electrical power to many African communities

Hydrogen fuel cells may be able to resolve the energy crisis in Africa, according to Intelligent Energy, a prominent developer of clean technology. The company has extensive experience in the hydrogen field, having designed fuel cells and hydrogen production systems for several years. Fuel cells are often overlooked as primary energy systems because of their high cost, but the benefits of using fuel cells may be too great to ignore. These benefits may be especially attractive in parts of the world where access to energy is scarce.

Reliable electrical power is not common in many communities across several African countries

Electricity is not common in rural parts of Africa. In many African countries, rural communities have absolutely no access to electrical power, while others have unreliable access.  Some countries are working to resolve this issue through the adoption of renewable energy. Solar energy systems built close to these communities can offer reliable access to electrical power, but these energy systems tend to be very small, with limited capacity. This is where fuel cells could excel.

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Fuel cells with replaceable hydrogen cartridges could be ideal for many rural communities

Fuel cells are power energy systems capable of producing large quantities of electrical power. According to Intelligent Energy, fuel cells designed to use replaceable hydrogen cartridges could be a solution to the energy problems that many African communities face. These fuel cells make use of a standalone hydrogen source, which is depleted as the energy system produces electrical power. Once depleted, the cartridge can be replaced as easily as though it were a battery. The fuel cells themselves produce water vapor as a byproduct of energy production.

High cost of fuel cells makes their adoption difficult

Fuel cell technology is also scalable, which means that it can easily adapt to the growing energy demands of communities throughout Africa. One of the drawbacks of these energy systems is their high cost, however. Fuel cells make use of platinum, which makes them inordinately expensive for small communities that may not have the financial capabilities to adopt clean technology.