The search for sustainable sources of clean, renewable energy is ongoing, worldwide, not least when it comes to powering the millions of vehicles that crowd the planet’s roads. One of the principal sources of the carbon dioxide that’s released into the atmosphere – particularly in urban areas – is motor vehicle exhaust emissions. The resulting smog has been linked to lung disease, damage to the natural environment, climate change, and harm to animals.
Increasingly, fuel cell devices are considered as a replacement to the internal combustion engine. Fuel cells provide propulsion by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is becoming progressively popular, in part because refueling is quicker than for a battery-powered electric vehicle whose charging time counts in tens of minutes, and the range per tank/charge is greater. What they both have in common is that neither type of vehicle emit CO2. Fuel cell vehicles emit water vapor from their exhaust pipes, battery-powered electrical vehicle have no excaust pipe.
However, as people open to embracing these new green technologies, they often run into another problem – the lack of supporting infrastructure. This can be a particular issue for the transportation industry, where there’s a specific need to keep vehicles fueled and mobile.
In Germany, the hydrogen filling station network is growing. A recent addition is a state-of-the-art facility in the city of Halle an der Saale, which plugs a gap that existed in the “hydrogen highway” between Leipzig and Magdeburg. The refueling process is not unlike conventional refueling and takes no more than five minutes to complete. By 2020, there are expected to be around 100 stations for drivers to choose from.
It is likely to be some time before the same kind of network is available for hydrogen refueling as exists for gasoline and diesel, but it is encouraging to see positive action being taken. We can also expect an exponential growth of these stations, comparable to the exponential growth of battery-powered electrical vehicles charging stations between 2014 and 2018.
At Clean Energy Enterprises, we applaud all efforts to promote and enable the use of clean energy. Moreover, by our pioneering technologies that turn waste biomass into clean, renewable hydrogen fuel, two of the world’s most pressing problems are being addressed.