Pike Research, an international research firm specializing in alternative energy, has released the latest edition of its Pike Pulse Report. The new report concerns the success of hydrogen fuel cells and their use as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). Fuel cells have garnered much acclaim for their durability. The fuel cell units themselves are incredibly resilient to damage and can continue generating tremendous amounts of electricity hours after they have been cut off from their fuel supply. The report notes that stationary fuel cells are amongst the best UPS power systems currently available.
Pike notes that stationary fuel cells are effective energy systems because they can, essentially, fuel themselves. The fuel cell generates hydrogen through a series of chemical processes. These processes are instigated by a catalyst, usually made of platinum, charged with a gentle electric current. Most fuel cells are fed electricity from a power grid, but stationary fuel cells could power themselves by converting the hydrogen they produce into electricity. The report shows that these fuel cells have been very reliable during natural disasters in Japan and much of Europe.
Fuel cells continue to gain momentum in the world of alternative energy, but are still criticized for their expensive nature. While operating fuel cells is not expensive, building the units is, as they require a large amount of costly materials. The report notes that if the cost of fuel cells cannot be reduced, many will not care how effective they can be as a UPS energy system.