On October 8, the U.S. celebrated National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, selected according to the atomic mass of hydrogen (1,008), first marked last year. The main areas of application of this technology are fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), which have the potential to significantly reduce US oil use and harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. In addition, such cars can be twice as efficient as today’s gasoline vehicles. That’s why FCEVs are an important part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s energy portfolio that complements other sustainable transportation options.
The beginnings of the development of this technology can be traced back to the mid-1970s and the first oil embargo, when a group of scientists met with leaders from the private sector and the federal government in Albuquerque to discuss possible new technologies. Over time, laboratory scientists have helped teach industrialists the production of optimized electrodes that are the foundation of fuel cells and this collaboration has led to great advances and enabled 40 years later to drive commercial vehicles on fuel cells. In particular, significant progress has been made in the field of this technology in the United States in recent years:
Hyundai and Toyota have unveiled their FCEVs for commercial sale, while several major automakers such as Honda, GM and BMW are working to introduce the same in the near future.
In California, hydrogen is one of the options for refueling at more than 20 gas stations.
The Ministry of Energy co-financed the use of more than 1,600 fuel cells in forklifts and emergency power supplies for mobile phone towers, and the success of these installations led to the use of an additional 18,000 fuel cells without Ministry funding.
Research funded by the ministry has halved projected high costs of automotive fuel cells and quadrupled fuel cell life since 2007.
Solutions that include fuel cell electric vehicles are an important part of reducing global warming to the required levels, and with hydrogen production from environmentally friendly sources, carbon emissions could be reduced by more than 90%.