The search for an energy source that causes minimal to no damage to our natural environment has lead scientists to judiciously and actively use hydrogen as a fuel. The latest comes from the production of hydrogen through electrolysis induced via renewable energy sources.
Hydrogen Power Initiatives
This method was first deployed by FaHyence, a fuel station in Europe, in April 2017. The energies required for the electrolysis were distributed by Electricity of France (EDF).
Hydrogen fuel can be used to power automobiles and on-site industries, and to convert power to gas. One such company dedicated to using and expand hydrogen as a primary source of energy is Denmark’s GreenHydrogen.
Hydrogen Fuel Initiatives
Europe has introduced two hydrogen fueling stations since 2018; HyWay being the second one initiated after FaHyence. The latter has a capacity of 40 kg of hydrogen per day which can fuel up to 25 vehicles. EDF, EIFER, McPhy, Symbio Fcell and the Urban Conglomeration of Sarreguemines Confluences (CASC) joined together to come up with the commencement of FaHyence. Ten hydrogen vehicles (Electric Kangoo ZE by Renault) run on site to ensure that the fuel station remains operational. The 350 km range of the vehicles is powered by a PEM cell and that runs without any greenhouse emissions. Of the 350 km, 200 are powered by a 33 kWh Li-ion battery and the rest 150 by a 1.8 kg hydrogen tank powered 5 kWh PEM fuel cell.
Expansion of Hydrogen Fuel Stations
FCHJU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) is a European program that funds the H2ME (Hydrogen Mobility Europe) project, part of which is FaHyence. By 2020, this program aims at deploying 1,400 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the roads of EU and 49 filling stations for the same.
Four Minutes Flat
The ease of operating the hydrogen fuel stations has suited well the consumers. The procedure mostly remains standard as is with fossil fuels. With simple operations, consumers have more than accepted hydrogen as a fuel due to its ability to fill a tank fuel in four minutes flat.
However, there is still a great scope of improvement for the mechanics and the ergonomics of the fuel stations.
Potential to Exploit More
The electrolyzers used for the process only shell out an average of 2.2 fuelings per day, which is approximately 5% of its total capacity. Hence, there is massive scope for its exploitation.
“Hydrogen technology itself is not the limiting factor. The most constraining element is the electrolyzer”, says Christian Hector, head of the technical service of Cofluences and initiator of the FaHyence project.
For an electrolyzer to be used to its full capacity, the fuel station must provide for 30 vehicles a day.
The need for a hydrogen-powered energy source is widely understood:
- Is carbon-emission free
- Is accessible and clean
- Has a longer range than electronic batteries
- has the potential for an easier transition for consumers than electric vehicles
- is used to launch space shuttles, and is making a significant contribution to science and technology
Europe has diverted its sources towards the total use of a green energy resource, and many other countries are making progress towards the same.