In the 1970s, hydrogen fuel cell technology was hailed as a clean source of energy. However, the cost of making hydrogen was too high, and the technology did not take off. Today, it is used mostly in laboratories and backup generators. Engineers continue to find better ways to use hydrogen fuel. It is unlikely that many vehicles will be able to run on it until the cost drops.
Air Products hydrogen supply facility in Santa Clara suffered an explosion
Tuesday afternoon, an explosion occurred at the Air Products hydrogen fuel supply plant in Santa Clare (California). The explosion occurred as the company was transferring hydrogen fuel cell stations from a cylindrical tank. A leak occurred as the hydrogen was being transferred, causing an explosion that ignited. Fortunately, no one was injured. The explosion prompted a three-alarm response and required evacuations of the surrounding area. As firefighters arrived, they discovered multiple hydrogen tanker trucks catching fire.
Air Products is a major supplier of hydrogen to the Northern California region. The explosion has affected multiple hydrogen refueling stations in the area. The company said it expects to suspend service for up to 1,000 customers this week. The company has not yet provided an estimate of when hydrogen service will be restored. It is unclear whether the facility will be able to reopen after the explosion.
Only six of the 11 hydrogen fueling stations in San Francisco Bay Area have access as of this writing. However, despite the growing popularity of fuel cell cars, there are only a few hydrogen stations in the region compared to the many DC fast charging stations for electric cars.
The valve’s metal parts, which were not intended for hydrogen use, caused the fire. Steel is susceptible to corrosion when exposed to pure hydrogen, which can self-ignite when under high pressure. Hydrogen is also hotter than most gases, making it more likely to spontaneously self-ignite. This is why hydrogen is usually pre-chilled before it enters a fuel cell vehicle.
Although the hydrogen fuel supply in the SF Bay Area has been relatively stable since the explosion, many hydrogen fueling stations were without fuel for a day. Many hydrogen-powered vehicles were left without gas to refuel after the shortage of hydrogen. Many car companies have stepped in to help drivers who are unable to access fuel.
Cost of creating hydrogen from water
Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be used for many purposes. The process of creating hydrogen from water is known as electrolysis. The process consumes only about 20.5 billion m3 of water per year, less than the 1100 billion m3 consumed annually by the irrigated agriculture industry. This method could make fossil fuel energy sources obsolete and move the energy sector toward renewable technologies. The process can also save 10 billion m3 of freshwater. This will make it possible to achieve a sustainable energy society by reducing water consumption.
Hydrogen production is currently a very expensive process, largely because it requires a great deal of energy to produce hydrogen. Unfortunately, the energy used in the process is not renewable, so the process is inefficient and expensive compared to other energy sources. Some critics say that the hydrogen industry is a way for oil and gas giants to delay the adoption of renewable energy while maintaining demand for their products. However, the U.S. government is pushing for continued development of the industry because it could eventually grow into a trillion-dollar global market. Secretary of State Kerry has also warned against China’s ambitions to dominate the hydrogen industry.
The cost of hydrogen production varies depending on the energy source, the feedstock and capital investment. The cost of hydrogen production is lowest when it is produced by renewable energy sources, which typically have low water demands. Fossil fuels, in comparison, have high water requirements. 251 billion m3 freshwater was taken from the water supply in 2014 for power production. Another 31 billion m3 was used for cooling, mining, hydraulic fractureturing, and refining.
However, hydrogen is also flammable. Because hydrogen is 57 times lighter than gasoline fumes, it can easily disperse into the air. Hydrogen is also reactive and high levels of hydrogen could cause fires.
Lack of hydrogen refueling stations
The National Academies study on hydrogen did not consider alternative fuels that could be used to make electricity and transport hydrogen. It also found that the life cycle efficiency of hydrogen cars on gasoline will be less than 30 percent for the next two decades. Gas-fired power plants, on the other hand, have an efficiency of about 55 percent and are expected increase to 60 percent by 2020. Natural gas is also more efficient than hydrogen in cogeneration of electricity or heat.
Despite the promise that hydrogen fuel holds, there are many obstacles to its success. The greatest obstacle is the absence of hydrogen refueling stations. California is an example of this problem. The number of hydrogen fueling stations in California is less than the number of electric vehicle charging station. The state has committed $115 million to build 111 hydrogen stations by 2027.
To fill up a hydrogen vehicle, you must stop driving and go to a hydrogen station to pay for the gas. The hydrogen vehicle will not be able recharge itself if there isn’t a hydrogen station nearby. To avoid this, electric cars can be charged with a wall outlet. However, fuel-cell cars are more difficult to sell because of this infrastructure gap. One potential outlier is Japan, where the high cost of energy and limited resources make hydrogen a viable option. Despite these obstacles, the Japanese government is investing heavily into hydrogen infrastructure.
It is expensive to build a hydrogen refueling station. Building a hydrogen fueling station requires large storage tanks and high pressure hydrogen storage. The cost of building a hydrogen fueling station requires expensive hardware. It is estimated that 40 percent of all cars will need to be supplied by hydrogen fuel stations, which will cost around $600 billion.
Cost of battery-electric powertrains
Fuel costs are forcing car manufacturers and users to make savings, and government legislation is requiring emissions reduction. Manufacturers cannot produce cars with conventional powertrains without major modifications. They must use alternative fuels and powertrains in order to comply with these regulations. These laws are currently in effect in Japan, England, and the European Union.
When evaluating the cost of alternative fuels and powertrains, it is crucial to consider the total cost of ownership. The life cycle cost method can be used to determine the true cost of alternative fuels in a vehicle. In this way, you can compare the cost of buying an electric vehicle versus a conventional gas or diesel engine.
The current hydrogen production system can produce one kilogram of hydrogen in 56 kWh and can run for up to 50,000 hours. This means that a 200 kW PEM electrolyser can cost as much as USD 500 per kW. If it were produced on a smaller scale, this cost would be lower.
The hydrogen market has been in the commercial sector for several years. There are more than two thousand hydrogen-powered forklifts in warehouses in 40 states, and dozens of fuel cell buses are in use in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, and California. Additionally, consumer hydrogen refueling stations are being established around the world. Honda and Toyota have joined forces with the Quebec government in creating hydrogen infrastructure in Montreal. Saudi Arabia has its first hydrogen station.
Hydrogen fuel-cell cars face challenges
Hydrogen fuel-cell cars are still a promising option, but there are many hurdles. The lack of infrastructure is one of the biggest. It’s difficult to store and transport hydrogen, and clean hydrogen is still relatively expensive, even when used for power generation. An INTRUPTor is a device that converts syngas into hydrogen or CO2 gas. This system could be a game-changer for the hydrogen economy, renewable natural gas, as well as solving many of the problems that are associated with fossil fuels.
Another challenge is the high cost of production. Hydrogen is a delicate substance and is very sensitive to contamination and temperature. Hydrogen fuel cells can become unusable at extreme temperatures. They are not suitable for hot climates. These people might not find hydrogen fuel-cell cars the best choice.
Hydrogen is lighter than gasoline. Hydrogen is lighter than gasoline, but it is more difficult to transport, especially for commercial purposes. A hydrogen tank can hold the energy of 19 gaseous hydrogen trucks. Cryogenic tankers can store hydrogen equivalent to one truck’s power, but hydrogen liquefaction requires more energy. New methods of compression may reduce the cost of hydrogen transport, but they may not be as energy-efficient.
To be widely adopted, fuel-cell cars will require new infrastructure. Although hydrogen fuel cell technology is highly promising, it is difficult to make it as practical as battery-powered vehicles. Despite these challenges hydrogen is an alternative to battery-powered vehicles. However, it still requires more education and infrastructure.
Hi, I’m David. I’m an author of ManagEnergy.tv where we teach people how to save energy and money in their homes and businesses.
I’ve been a writer for most of my life and have always been interested in helping people learn new things. When I was younger, I would write short stories for my classmates and teach them how to do math problems.
I love traveling and have been lucky enough to visit some fantastic places around the world.