Fuel Cells: An Alternative Method of Storing Energy
The use of renewable energy is getting higher at a rapid pace. To date, the world has added nearly 260 gigawatts of green power capacity in comparison to fossil fuel addition, which is 60 gigawatts.
Currently, green energy power is easily accessible at a nominal price, which results in the higher consumption of this energy.
In this article, we’ll discuss in-depth fuel cells, the working of fuel cells, and their market scenario.
What are fuel cells?
Fuel cells work with the help of chemical energy formed by several fuels like hydrogen to efficiently and cleanly produce electricity. If the fuel is hydrogen, then the outcome products are heat, water, and electricity.
Fuel cells have different capabilities depending on their applications. They can take the help of several types of feedstocks for providing power to systems ranging from large power stations to small devices such as laptops.
As per BIS Research market reports, the global advanced energy storage and fuel cell market is expected to witness a tremendous growth rate during 2016–2022.
In other language, fuel cells can also be defined as devices that convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy. Essentially, the stored chemical energy is used by the fuel cells like methane, gasoline, or hydrogen, and then via two electrochemical responses, it converts them into electricity.
Since the transformation of fuel to electricity takes place through the electrochemical method and not by the combustion method, the method is said to be too highly efficient, non-polluting, and three times more effective than burning fuels.
Working of Fuel Cells
Fuel cells function similarly to batteries, but fuel cells do not need recharging like batteries. Fuel cells produce heat and electricity till fuel is being supplied.
Fuel cells have two electrodes, namely, a positive electrode (cathode) and a negative electrode (anode).
Fuel like hydrogen is provided to the negative electrode, and the air is provided to the positive electrode. After this, a catalyst in the negative electrode separated the molecules of hydrogen into electrons and protons, which further takes a separate path inside the cathode.
The electrons travel through an external circuit resulting in electricity generation, and the protons travel through the cathode. After the passing of electrons and cathode, fuel cells result in producing heat and water.
Challenges in the Adoption of Fuel Cells
There are different types of problems related to the adoption of fuel cells. The most common and faced by several are the costing. Fuel cells are said to be an expensive technology in comparison to other technology like deep cycle batteries. Following is in-depth information related to the challenges associated with fuel cells.
The high requirement of the materials like platinum for the creation of fuel cells results in high expenses in the making of fuel cells compared to other cells used in transport and other places.
In the upcoming years, the adoption of fuel cells is going to save a lot of money, but currently, the manufacturing cost is higher than the expectations of the investors.
- Safety Issue
The key idea behind the development of fuel cells for use in daily life is to use them in cars. The real problem in the adoption of fuel cells is the associated safety issue. Since hydrogen is mostly used in the fuel cells and hydrogen is more flammable, which increases the chances of catching fire.
This means any car having hydrogen fuel cells setup has a higher chance of getting exposed to fire on its own.
Market Insight of the Global Advance Energy Storage and Fuel Cell Market
In the last few decades, despite several challenges, the overall market of the global advanced energy storage and fuel cells is witnessing high technical advancement and a decrease in the average cost.
The ecosystem of the advanced energy storage and fuel cells market constitutes energy-storing technology and integrators methods. The advanced fuel storage market includes technologies like Li-ion battery, molten battery, flow battery, metal-air battery, and ultra battery.
Different applications have different needs, thereby requiring different types of sorting fuel technologies.
There has been a constant discussion going on for the fuel cells. As per the latest research, it has been established that the use of fuel cells in the coming future is going to be beyond the imagination. They could be widely adopted by different companies in the coming years.
Fuel cells are more flexible and much more sustainable compared to other fossil fuels. Solar, wind, and several other natural energy resources can completely replace the use of fossil fuels on a global and large scale.
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