The idea of using hydrogen fuel as an energy source is amazing since it doesn’t produce any pollution. However, producing pure hydrogen from water (the only clean way to do it) requires more energy than it will generate.
Hydrogen fuel can be used as storage
The solution to the problem mentioned above is using hydrogen fuel as storage of excess energy generated by renewable green sources. Therefore, you won’t need complex storage devices and plenty of batteries for storing this power. Additionally, it is easier and cheaper to transfer the hydrogen for longer distances than electricity.
For example, Texas has an excess of wind power. It can use that energy to split water to make hydrogen fuel, and then store it in underground salt caverns. Using this method, terawatts of power can be stored and will be easily accessible when needed.
Additionally, hydrogen can become a grid balancer. Grid balancers help energy distribution systems match generation to demand. Because fuel cells ramp up and down just about instantly, with stored hydrogen utilities they can match output to demand on a moment-to-moment basis.
The use of it in cars and infrastructure
Hydrogen can also be used in cars. The advantages of fueling your car with hydrogen are that the automaker can easily get to a 300-mile range between fill-ups, refilling takes no longer than getting gasoline, and it doesn’t produce any harmful emissions.
The cars running on hydrogen fuel cells are already developed and built in small numbers. In order to produce them massively, manufacturers have to know that they will sell. But it won’t happen until people have enough fueling stations to use them freely. Finally, to build this infrastructure, a lot of funding is required. However, several states and national governments have decided to help with this.
California is one of these states. It has a plan to build 100 stations and wants to increase the number to 200 by 2025. 35 of them are already open and functional. Comparing to 8,000 operational gas stations, the number of hydrogen ones is ridiculously small. However, out of these 8,000 stations, 1,800 of them are providing 50% of the fuel to the consumers. Therefore, by placing them strategically, a few stations can effectively serve a large community of hydrogen cars.
A lot of hydrogen-powered vehicles are coming to the market. Some examples of them are Honda Clarity, Toyota Mirai, etc. Additionally, Tokyo plans to spend over $300 million to showcase hydrogen power on the 2020 Olympic Games. With this amount of effort, hydrogen has the potential to replace gasoline in the next 40-50 years.
[Via Digital Trends]