What are the Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Use? A Look at The Challenges

What are the Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Use? A Look at The Challenges

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June 11, 2022 0 By Angela Linders

Though H2 clearly offers a number of energy advantages, there is also a downside.

Hydrogen fuel uses come with a spectrum of impressive benefits, but as is the case with everything, it isn’t perfect on every level. 

This helps to explain why there remains some debate regarding the top fossil fuel alternative.

There is no mystery why fuel cell news is consistently a hot topic as the world aims to decarbonize in the face of the climate crisis. Countries worldwide have been releasing their strategies for hydrogen fuel use to help reduce their own reliance on crude, coal, and natural gas while slashing greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2.

Still, there remain a number of challenges to using H2 which have created barriers to rapid deployment worldwide.

Some of the challenges and disadvantages relating to hydrogen fuel uses include the following.

  1. Cost – Renewable H2, also known as green hydrogen, comes with a price tag that is higher than the cost of fossil fuels. While the Russian war in Ukraine is shrinking the gap, the cleanest forms of H2 produced using electrolysis powered by renewable energy remain expensive at the moment. Proponents believe that the price will naturally fall as demand rises and technology improves.
  2. Storage – H2 is notably less dense than gasoline, meaning that it must be compressed under high pressure – even to the point that it is a liquid – underground or in a hydrogen storage tank for transportation.
  3. Safety risks – Though technology is being developed with strictest safety standards in mind, this doesn’t mean that all danger risks will disappear. It is highly flammable and lacks an odor, making leaks more challenging to detect unless sensitive sensors are installed.
  4. Scalable technology – Although research, development and testing are ongoing worldwide, the technology for commercial and industrial use simply isn’t there yet. Proponents are certain that it will be here – and that it’s not long off – but it’s not quite here yet.  Work is still needed to bring H2 technology to where it needs to be for widespread, large scale hydrogen fuel use. This is particularly true when it comes to forms that aren’t reliant on fossil fuel for their production and transportation.

hydrogen fuel uses, disadvantages and solutions

With these subjects in mind, there’s been a lot of work and money tossed into the ring by large companies as well as privately funded studies and government programs implemented – All with the plan in mind…to meet zero-emission climate goal target time frames set. Here are some articles that further explore what’s being done for these specific disadvantages…

  • Cost – New discovery of a less expensive electrocatalyst discovered by the researchers at the University of Buffalo.
  • Storage – These Canadian hydrogen companies have joined together in using green ammonia to lower the cost of green hydrogen production as well as finding safe innovative storage options.
  • Safety risks – In this recent article it’s reported the safety concerns of hydrogen storage which the UK government has funded a major hydrogen storage test. This is just one of many tests that are going on in terms of hydrogen safety.
  • Scalable technologyH-TEC Systems hydrogen cube system is tackling scalability issues for their customers as a stack-able solution which gives a company options to start small and easily grow. Other hydrogen companies are addressing commercial hydrogen uses for large metropolitan areas.