Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies provide cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions to improving our energy needs.
Hydrogen is an energy storage medium. Energy, stored as hydrogen in the form of a gas or a liquid, will never dissipate until it is used, making it a good application for emergency generators and other mission critical energy applications. Compare that to other energy storage types like batteries and capacitors which lose the energy stored in them over time and need to be periodically recharged even without use.
Currently most internal combustion engines operate with an efficiency around 25% and power plants achieving about a 35% efficiency; however, a stationary fuel cell, when used in a combined heat and power system, can have an efficiency level of greater than 80%.
When hydrogen is used to power a fuel cell, the only byproducts are water and heat—no pollutants or greenhouse gases are produced. Even when fossil fuels are used to power a fuel cell the emissions are significantly reduced when compared with conventional fossil fueled generation technologies. In Connecticut, the annual average emission rates for electric generation facilities on the New England System is .25 lb/MWh for NOx. by contrast, a stationary fuel cell operating on natural gas produces approximately 0.01 lb/MWh for NOx.
Domestic Energy Supply
Hydrogen can be produced using a wide variety of resources found here in the U.S. Hydrogen can be renewable and produced by waste, biomass, wind, solar, tidal, wave, and geothermal. Production technology includes electrolysis of water, steam reforming of natural gas, coal gasification, thermochemical production, and biological gasification. With so many sources for hydrogen generation, the U.S. has the ability to create sustainable energy in an efficient and cost effective manner, while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and other fossil fuels.
Hydrogen fuel cells are cleaner and more efficient than traditional combustion-based engines and power plants. Hydrogen and fuel cells can also be used in mobile applications to power vehicles and mobile power packs.
The benefits of fuel cells are:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- High Reliability
- Flexibility in installation and operation
- Development of renewable energy resources
- Reduced demand for foreign oil
- Improved environmental quality