Hydrogen Fuel Cell Benefits and Limitations

Topics: Fuel cell, Hydrogen vehicle, Energy development Pages: 2 (416 words) Published: February 10, 2013
What are some benefits or limitations of the alternative technology regarding economics? (What will it cost to purchase, re-fuel, launch, educate and distribute?) Benefits.
No pollution: A great benefit of using Hydrogen fuel cells is that they give off no pollution, and in fact produce pure water as a byproduct. Even though currently engineers are concentrating on producing hydrogen from natural gas, it will be for a short-term. Scientists are planning to have renewable environmentally-friendly ways of producing hydrogen in the future. Efficiency: Fuel cells generate electrical power quietly and efficiently. Approximate estimation of the fuel-cell car efficiency is 64 percent. While the latest model of popular brand Honda FCX concept reportedly has 60-percent energy efficiency. Convenience: A car could run a while on hydrogen without going to a power station. The future of the fuel-cell cars is promising and only United States along has dedicated more than one billion dollars to fuel cell research and development so far. However it will not happen overnight because scientists have to sort out a few major issues with fuel cell: Limitations.

Cost: Many pieces of a fuel cell are costly. Use of precious metal such as platinum is required. Fuel cell systems must cost $35 per kilowatt. Currently the production price is $73 per kilowatt. Durability: Membranes that are part of the hydrogen fuel cell has to stand 100 degrees Celsius and still function at sub-zero temperatures. Currently membranes tend to degrade while fuel cells cycle on and off, particularly as operating temperatures rise. Delivery: the air compressor technologies currently available are not suitable for the new vehicle use. The alternative principal for fuel delivery has to be developed and become available for the new “gas” stations. Purity: hydrogen does naturally exist on Earth in its elemental form. Engineers and scientists must produce pure hydrogen from these hydrogen compounds including...
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