Hydrogen fuel cells struggle to find favor with industrial companies

Hydrogen fuel cells struggle to find favor with industrial companies

June 13, 2012 0 By Dan Holguin
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Hydrogen fuel cells

Fuel cell systems made popular by automakers, but can be used for much more than transportation

Hydrogen fuel cells have become popular options for car manufacturers looking to comply with more stringent emissions standards coming from the world’s governments as well as those looking to break away from fossil-fuels. Indeed, the auto industry has been a significant force behind the recent boom in popularity surrounding the alternative energy systems. Hydrogen fuel cells used for vehicles are quickly approaching their much awaited goal of commercialization, but transportation is not the only use of the powerful energy systems.

On-site power generation becoming a concern for many companies

Fuel cells used to generate energy for businesses have long been a subject of interest in the world of industry. Hydrogen fuel cells are capable of generating a large amount of electricity, on par with conventional energy systems that run off fossil-fuels. Fossil-fuels has been growing in cost, however, which has spurred many industrial companies to pursue other forms of energy. On-site hydrogen fuel cells have been grabbing the attention of these companies recently.

Problems with fuel cell technology have made the energy systems unattractive

Though fuel cells are sometimes seen as miraculous alternative energy systems, they are not without fault. Currently, the majority of industrial hydrogen fuel cell systems are excessively expensive. This makes the energy systems unattractive for companies that are looking to cut costs by adopting alternative energy. Large fuel cells also operate at high temperatures, which make it difficult for some companies to incorporate the energy systems into their energy infrastructure. Thus far, price has proven to be the most deterring factor of hydrogen fuel cells.

Balance in pricing may be key to success

Sam Logan, chairman of the Fuel Cell Seminar and Exhibition, notes that the hydrogen fuel cell industry must find balance in the pricing of fuel cell systems. Logan claims that the only way for this balance to be possible is for fuel cell manufacturers to increase their sales and production volume and adopt efficient manufacturing practices. Without making changes, the fuel cell industry, as a whole, may not be able to move beyond what it is currently capable of.