With energy demands rising and the challenges associated with climate change, the time has come to focus on a clean, economical and commercially viable way to power cars and trucks.
(Hydrogen fuelling station - AC Transit in Emeryville, California)
Congress, for one, considers hydrogen-powered fuel cells a very promising answer for powering the Nation’s cars and trucks. That’s why it proclaimed October 8, 2015 as the first National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day.
The advantages are many:
1) Hydrogen is already being used successfully to power city transit bus services, forklifts in factories and a growing number of commercial trucks and consumers’ cars around the world. In addition, hundreds of businesses in North America have enhanced their efficiency by powering facilities, warehouses and data centers with fuel cells.
2) The emissions from a fuel cell vehicle consists of nothing more than water. When proponents say zero harmful emissions, they’re not exaggerating.
3) Hydrogen has already been deployed as an industrial gas for over one hundred years and large volumes are used across the widest range of applications every day.
4) The infrastructure challenges are being solved to the point where the average consumer in targeted geographies can easily and quickly fuel their hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. This is evidenced by the recent opening of two new hydrogen fueling stations in California with 30 more opening in the next year or two.
5) When you build it (the infrastructure) they will come: Conservative industry estimates call for more than 34,000 hydrogen-powered cars to be on the roads in California by 2021, with continued significant growth.
6) The world is behind hydrogen: Many of the innovations aimed at establishing a viable, sustainable hydrogen fueling infrastructure were developed in close collaboration with key industry players and with funding from the European Commission and national governments in countries such as the US, Japan and Germany. These advances are bringing the vision of sustainability within reach, especially in the expanding road transport/mobility sector.
7) The cosmos is behind hydrogen too: Hydrogen comprises some 90% of the visible universe by some estimates. It’s the raw fuel that most stars 'burn' to produce energy. The same process, known as fusion, is being studied as a possible power source for use on Earth.
Hydrogen, as it turns out, is an efficient – and possibly ideal - medium to store energy generated from both traditional and renewable sources, especially those subject to fluctuations (wind, solar), then delivering that energy efficiently to where it’s needed. When generated from regenerative sources, it creates a zero-emissions hydrogen-water-hydrogen cycle that balances the desire for mobility and transportation with the need for climate protection.
And by the way, as Congress considered what day to make National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, it settled on October 8 because that date reflects the element’s atomic weight: 1.008.