Hydrogen fuel cells are the next big wave in green technology. Although originally designed with transportation in mind, Japan is currently piloting a government funded program to make hydrogen fuel cells a reality in household power. With zero emissions, this clean energy is currently out of the price range for the average person. As industry continues to improve the technology, however, the cost is becoming much more manageable. Here are the five main household uses for hydrogen fuel cells:
1. Greater Energy Efficiency
By utilizing the ability of some hydrogen fuel systems to work off of propane or natural gas, the efficiency of your household can increase to 85%. In this way, the hydrogen fuel cell removes the hydrogen from the propane or natural gas and uses less of the initial fossil fuel. The hydrogen fuel cell then powers your home in the same way standard electricity would. By having a hydrogen fuel cell on site, it does not require any infrastructure to transport the electricity to your house.
2. Water or Steam Heating
The byproducts of hydrogen fuel cells are water and heat. By routing the heat and water to either a hot water heater or a steam heating system there are no byproducts at all, only maximum efficiency. While the hydrogen fuel cell is powering other electrical systems in your house, it can also be helping to heat it as well.
While they may look like normal cars on the outside, fuel cell cars come with advanced technology hydrogen fuel cell stacks inside, allowing them to have zero emissions. The hydrogen fuel cell provides electrical power to a motor inside the car, allowing the vehicle to run without gasoline or any damaging carbon dioxide. The electric motors require less maintenance and offers a smoother, quieter drive.
4. Laptops, Cell Phones, and Portables
Small scale portable hydrogen fuel cells have been developed to run on bottled industrial hydrogen or metal hydride canisters. These fuel cells make powering your laptop, cell phone, power tools, or outdoor equipment done with "off grid" power. These portable fuel cells also have the added perk of being able to charge batteries in remote locations where the usual plug-in is unavailable, or on long, road trip vacations where you do not want to drain your car's battery. Three different versions have also been approved as carry-on for airline travel within the United States.
5. Back up Home Power
One of the largest perks of hydrogen fuel cells is their ability to provide power without the use of the power grid. That is, they do not need to be hooked up to traditional city resources in order to function. If there is ever a power outage, hydrogen fuel cells are an incredible backup system to keep a home powered. In this way, hydrogen fuel cells replace the need for gasoline powered generators. By providing standard electricity to the outlets in your household, there is no need to worry about the freezer defrosting, not having heat or lighting, or trouble making dinner.