Fuel cells hold a lot of promise as an innovative source of fuel. Not only could we possibly reduce our global consumption of fossil fuels, but we could also maintain our current infrastructure. These benefits do come with a cost: fuel cell technology that can be produced on a mass scale has yet to be developed at an affordable price point. Here are some of the other pros and cons of fuel cells to consider.
The Pros of Fuel Cells
1. Fuel cells have the highest energy content of any other fuel source.
This is the case when hydrogen energy is used. The amount of power that is created with the amount of fuel produced in the US right now is enough to power 30 million cars on hydrogen fuel cells.
2. It has an exhaust that is eco-friendly.
When hydrogen fuel cells are burned, the exhaust produced is basically just water and heat. This means billions of cars could be on the grid operating and the ongoing pollution of the environment would still be reduced.
3. Fuel cells can be used to produce electricity off the grid.
For rural areas that have no electrical access, fuel cells could help to modernize properties. It could also be used in generators for when the primary electrical grid shuts down for some reason.
The Cons of Fuel Cells
1. Hydrogen is currently produced at an environmental detriment.
A vast majority of the hydrogen we produce right now comes from atoms that are separated from methane. This releases greenhouse gas just like other fuel sources do.
2. Most hydrogen isn’t used as a fuel source.
Although organizations like NASA use hydrogen fuel, the 9 million metric tons the US produces annually is currently used in the manufacturing sector and in food industries.
3. Fuel cells are very sensitive to environmental changes.
Fuel cell technology is still relatively in its infant stages, which means it can be sensitive to contamination, temperature changes, and other environmental factors. Combined with the lack of infrastructure available for repairs or advice, it may be difficult to use these fuel cells until the technology develops more.
The pros and cons of fuel cells show a world of future potential. By examining each positive and negative, the industry can continue to grow and its innovations may surprise us all.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.