Is hydrogen fuel cell technology ready for the mainstream?January 15, 2022
New developments in H2 arrive regularly but have they reached mass market readiness yet?
Countries and companies worldwide – including automakers and oil giants – have been pouring billions into hydrogen fuel cell technology in the hopes that it will be one of the clean energy options that will help them to reach their climate targets.
That said, hydrogen fuel cell tech faces substantial challenges to mass market rollout.
Hydrogen fuel cell tech has taken off more rapidly in some areas than others. It is already rolling out in many parts of the world transitioning their public transit bus fleets and trains to zero-emission alternatives. That said, the potential for the technology is considerably broader, extending to industry, heavy-duty machinery, shipping, aviation, transport, as well as for residential and business electric power and heating. The US Department of Energy’s official fact sheet says “Fuel cells are the most energy efficient devices for extracting power from fuels.”
However, there remain a spectrum of challenges to the widespread deployment of H2. For instance, green hydrogen made using processes powered by renewable energy such as solar and wind remain expensive. Furthermore, renewable energy is reliant on weather and time of day. Moreover, refueling station infrastructure networks are not yet well established, limiting range of Hydrogen cars. The challenges are extensive and reach far beyond this list.
Companies are getting closer to rolling out mainstream hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Vehicles such as heavy-duty trucks are seeing accelerated H2 fueling development as fleets are rolled out and the necessary infrastructure expands to where it is most appropriate to those that will be using it. Production facilities in various forms are being constructed in countries around the globe.
As green hydrogen becomes more widely available, it is expected to fuel a spectrum of types of vehicle while also holding the potential to store surplus grid power in a way that simply isn’t possible with current lithium-ion batteries.
Panasonic Believes Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech is Ready
Panasonic intends to show that hydrogen fuel cell technology is ready for mass market and will begin demonstrations in April 2022 of an RE100 solution at an in-house factory. It will demonstrate the solution that will supply 100 percent of the electricity consumed in business activities from renewable sources using a combination of Hydrogen fuel cell generators, photovoltaic generators and storage batteries. It represents the first time there will be an attempt to create an “RE100 Factory” using H2 at full scale. The company will use this demonstration to show its tech is ready for mass market roll-out.
Can combustion engines run on hydrogen? We’re addressing questions like these on HFN – See More Below –Many are wondering… How efficient are hydrogen combustion engines? There are huge possibilities, lots of avenues to explorer and then there’s a large consensus that just flat disagree and wonder why people are even trying! A major point here is if there was nothing here, why would the largest car manufacturer in the world, Toyota, put so much time into the H2 combustion motor? Check out these articles showing their trials and results: Toyota News Today. Learn more about How companies are already converting semi trucks to clean H2. Also, make sure to visit our H2 Learning Center and don’t forget to grab your copy of our free ebook, Hydrogen Today and Tomorrow, sign up below and help support the burning questions of tomorrow power.
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The inherent inefficiency of an internal combustion engine because of its many moving parts and the need for expensive advanced lubricants to keep the parts moving versus a hydrogen fuel cell with no moving parts makes me wonder why any company would waste time and resources trying to develop a H2 fueled internal combustion motor. Why not concentrate on using a filter to cleanse the sulfur that poisons the palladium catalyst from the fuel used in the cell so that the H2 fuel cell can last as long as a house, which in theory it should, thereby dramatically changing the economics of the fuel cell. By the way, such a filter exists and is patent pending.