Technologies for the Hydrogen Economy
Hydrogen fuel created by electrolysis can be stored and later used (in fuel cells or in combustion devices) to supply energy when needed. This is particularly useful in off-grid applications where daytime power can be supplied by photovoltaic systems, but nighttime power must be made through other means.
These electrochemical devices need to offer real value to customers and end users. Superior energy efficiency and reliability are not sufficient unless product costs can be made competitive with internal combustion engines and other generation or energy conversion technologies (such as batteries). Giner’s core competency is proton exchange membrane and membrane electrode assembly technology. Our DSM technology offers the mechanical strength for high volume web-to-web production processes, while preserving or enhancing cell voltage performance.
Several Giner technologies will play a role in the hydrogen economy. Our hydrogen generators allow operators to manufacture hydrogen at high pressure while minimizing or eliminating the reliability issues associated with mechanical gas compressors. Our lightweight electrolyzers, originally developed for aerospace applications, are marketable to the consumer automotive industry as on-board hydrogen generators which would allow a driver to sufficiently recharge his fuel tanks overnight to commute to the office.
Wind turbines and other solar power technologies are becoming competitive with standard power station steam and gas turbine technologies. However, that power is not dispatchable – only producing power when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, but not necessarily when the customer’s load requires greater power generation capacity. By tying wind power to regenerative fuel cell technology it will become feasible for a larger proportion of the total generator capacity to be borne by such solar-powered devices.
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