Fuel cell cars waste being examined as a fire fighting agentMay 29, 2011
Hydrogen fuel cells are becoming popular solutions to the energy needs of many companies and individuals.
They are hailed as the future of the transportation industry and the only viable successor to oil. However, the uses of fuel cells goes well beyond the field of alternative energy. There is an increasing focus on what the exhaust of fuel cells. This “waste” is the target of a new initiative from AFC Energy, a UK based fuel cell company.
The byproduct of converting hydrogen into electricity is water vapor and oxygen. The oxygen is, of course, breathable to humans but it is much less dense than the ambient oxygen in any given room. This is because it is no longer bonded to hydrogen. AFC believes that this low-density oxygen can be used to stop the spread of fires.
A room, whether it is in an office or a house, is usually comprised of 21% oxygen.
By reducing that level to 15%, people will still be able to breathe the air without any trouble, but an open fire will not be able to spread. To test this, AFC has teamed with German fire protection company N2telligence. AFC will provide fuel cell exhaust while N2telligence explores its use.
Fuel cells are gaining in popularity and as more companies begin to use them, they may end up benefitting from unlikely protections. AFC hopes that this will be the case as it expects fuel cell exhaust to be a reliable and ever-present fire protection method.