Hydrogen Fuel Cells And Sustainable Development Goals

<p>United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for creating a sustainable world by 2030. Among 17 SDGs, SDG 7 and 13 identifies the role of energy in the attainment of a sustainable world.&nbsp;</p><p>SDG 7 stresses on the requirement for affordable and clean energy, while SDG 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact. The core aspect of these SDGs lies in promoting and adopting zero-emission energy technologies. Hydrogen fuel cells are promising zero-emission technologies connecting sustainable energy and UNSDGs.&nbsp;</p><p>The ability of fuel cell technology to be integrated with renewable energy sources such as solar or wind for the production of green hydrogen makes them an attractive usage case for energy utility applications.&nbsp;</p><p>The worldwide promotion and adoption of this technology are also fuelled by the high reliability and scalability of the system. Moreover, the output power can be matched to the demand ranging from mW to MW range owing to their modular design imparting flexibility in energy system design.&nbsp;</p><p>Beside independent zero-emission clean energy production, such systems require low maintenance services and have longer operating life, attracting deployment in duration intense stationary applications such as in decentralized energy systems. Above all, hydrogen fuel cell technology has already infiltrated the commercial market, accelerating the adoption of the technology.&nbsp;</p><p>Numerous fuel cell manufacturers in the commercial market today offer a wide range of specifications to meet the targeted end application. Furthermore, the growing impetus around decarbonization of the environment has propelled hydrogen fuel cell technology in rapidly developing markets such as automobiles and provides an apt platform for momentous growth.&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Clean Energy</span></h2><p>Fuel cells are electrochemical devices capable of directly converting the chemical energy of the fuel, hydrogen to electrical energy-emitting water as the only by-product.&nbsp;</p><p>Hydrogen fuel cells have fewer moving parts than traditional combustion engines and operate at very low noise levels (40-50 dB), offering silent and secure electricity for critical operations such as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for hospitals and data centers.&nbsp;</p><p>The cogeneration of heat and electricity during the operation of a fuel cell qualifies the system for combined heat and power (CHP) applications in domestic and industrial sectors, which is intriguing from the viewpoint of decentralized power production.&nbsp;</p><p>The added advantage of CHP utilization in hydrogen fuel cells is higher efficiency and lower emissions. This zero-emission energy technology is a convincing alternative to existing polluting fossil fuel-based energy production systems, specifically for remote areas with no grid access or area with huge electricity logistics.&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Climate Impact</span></h2><p>Transport emissions are a major contributor to global warming, accounting for 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Road transport accounts for one-third of transport emissions, amounting to 15% of total CO2 emissions. Globally there has been an upward trend in the implementation of e-mobility with battery and hydrogen fuel cells leading to the development of zero-emission vehicles.&nbsp;</p><p>Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) suffers from range anxiety, weight constraint, and longer charging hours, making them cumbersome for long-distance journeys.&nbsp;</p><p>Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) offers a driving range of more than 400 km with a single fill. Moreover, FCEVs can be refueled in less than 5 minutes and are ideal candidates for both light and heavy-duty vehicles. In FCEVs, electricity generated by the fuel cell, utilizing onboard compressed hydrogen and air, powers the electric motor. This zero-emission device is gaining momentum for transport applications as a mitigation strategy to curb emissions and decarbonize the environment.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/abha-bharti-6b20b893/">Abha Bharti</a></em></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Abha Bharti</span></h3><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. How the hydrogen economy brings sustainability in the green energy future?</span></h2><p>Hydrogen economy and green energy future connects through utilization of hydrogen as an economical and environmentally friendly fuel. It is important to emphasize that though hydrogen when burned produces only water, the generation process can be carbon intensive. The different hydrogen production methods generate the different &ldquo;colour coded&rdquo; hydrogen like grey, blue, yellow, green, pink or turquoise. &nbsp;</p><p>The &ldquo;green&rdquo; hydrogen produced through utilization of renewable energy like solar or wind promises sustainable, climate-neutral or green energy and has crucial role in the energy transition. The combined maturity and increased production capabilities of the renewable energy technologies and electrolyzer gives a sneak-peak into the future with decreasing cost of green energy to aid mass deployment.&nbsp;</p><p>Moreover, the versatility and scalability of green or clean hydrogen makes it a promising candidate for immediate green electrification of the energy sector followed by the electrification of difficult to decarbonize sectors like heavy industry, shipping and aviation assuring sustainable green energy future.&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. Why are hydrogen vehicles not popular?</span></h2><p>The popularity of hydrogen vehicles is adversely affected due to the following:</p><p><strong>Cost</strong>- Hydrogen vehicles are costlier than both the traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles.</p><p><strong>Hydrogen fuelling infrastructure</strong>- For the hydrogen vehicles on the road, it is mandatory to have the necessary hydrogen fuelling infrastructure which is still in the developmental stage impacting the adoption of the technology.</p><p><strong>Safety</strong>- Hydrogen is highly flammable gas and a dangerous fuel to be onboard in case of a vehicle crash.&nbsp;</p><p>Among these limitations, the good news is the constant push and concerted efforts by the government and hydrogen industry to address the shortcomings to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles.</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. Who is the largest manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cells ?</span></h2><p>The leading manufacturers of hydrogen fuel cells are Ballard Power Systems, Plug Power, Doosan Fuel Cell, Ceres Power, Advent Technologies and AFC Energy.</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. How does hydrogen fuel cells affect the environment ?</span></h2><p>Hydrogen fuel cells have no direct adverse impact on the environment. These technologies inherently produce clean energy with only water and heat as the by-products. The indirect impact to the environment is dependent on the method of hydrogen generation which can also be handled well by implementation of environmentally friendly production methods.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Abha Bharti