The world plans to go fossil fuel-free by 2050. Engineers understand the climate change and global warming issues, but the truth is that with existing technology, variable renewable energy sources are too dependent on the weather to overturn fossil fuel needs, and we will need backup power generation sources for any such conditions. That is where the hydrogen fuel cell comes, a future energy backup that generates clean electricity in any emergency conditions by replacing fossil fuels.
Bosch North America announced it will be investing $1.3 billion in hydrogen fuel cell and electrolyzer technology by 2025. https://t.co/9TaCLZlm3D
— Forbes (@Forbes) June 7, 2022
How it works
Instead of burning fossil fuel, hydrogen fuel cells generate electric energy through a chemical reaction produced from water and heat. It is much more sustainable than using fossil fuels, and it doesn’t emit greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in fewer carbon footprints. Since hydrogen is said to be the most abundant element in the Universe, which makes it highly favorable to make a fuel out of it for our transportation needs.
Since hydrogen fuel cells can be renewable, considering electrolyzing and compression are happening through renewable power sources, this makes them a perfect energy source for any backup or emergency energy needed. Aside from that, huge cargo freights such as aircraft and ships that are not viable to run on batteries are responsible for inducing 4.6% of total human enforced CO2 emissions in the world, so having these vehicles transition to using this alternative power source would help.
Design Approval for Hydrogen Fuel Cell System for Cruise Ships: The cruise industry is at the forefront seeking to deploy new technologies for its future energy sys… https://t.co/ArzTThnb4N pic.twitter.com/AKCNvgNsio
— MaritimeKE (@MaritimeOO1) June 6, 2022
Is hydrogen fuel cell a better replacement for batteries in EVs?
The process of making hydrogen fuel starts from electrolyzing water, which requires electrical energy. That fuel gets compressed into a tank, making it 35% efficient, which is almost the same as car engine efficiency.
In comparison, batteries are almost 90% efficient, which is probably why hydrogen fuel cells aren’t the go-to fuel in the automotive market. The cost of generating the same quantity of electric energy from a solar-powered battery system is 2.5 times less than that of hydrogen fuel cells.
Iceland's national powerco has teamed up with Verne Global to trial and deploy hydrogen fuel cells as a sustainable back-up option for its Icelandic data centre campus. It is already almost 100% green with the country's government. https://t.co/LoDF95xmgF pic.twitter.com/AIIjk0UsJw
— Hydrogen Standard (@H2Standard) May 31, 2022
Despite this setback, hydrogen fuel cells are gradually growing in their potential market. Samsung Heavy Industries, which is among the largest shipping industries in the world, has collaborated with Bloom Energy and built the world’s first fuel cell-based LNG carrier ship in 2021. Apple also uses Bloom Energy manufactured fuel cells for its data centers’ energy backup. Meanwhile, Microsoft did the same with Caterpillar and Ballard power systems.
In conclusion, hydrogen fuel cells are not here to replace batteries in EVs as some suggest, but they can be a perfect energy backup source for power generation and fuel source for heavy transportation.