Hydrogen is a zero-carbon energy transporter that is both clean and flexible.
FREMONT CA: Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity and water as byproducts of a chemical reaction between hydrogen gas and oxygen inside a fuel cell.
High manufacturing prices, suboptimal production, and manufacturing efficiency, and intricate storage and transportation needs have all contributed to hydrogen fuel cells failing to become a widely used technology for passenger automobiles.
However, hydrogen fuel cells make more sense for industrial applications for those who can afford the necessary infrastructure. This article will discuss the advantage and downside of using hydrogen fuel cells to power material handling equipment.
ADVANTAGE-Increased Productivity Due to High Energy Density: Many businesses are looking for a zero-emission alternative to internal combustion engines in their forklifts, and some are turning to hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Hydrogen fuel cells emit no CO2 while operating, even if their manufacture is not entirely carbon-free. This provides them an edge over combustion engine vehicles, which can release trace levels of dangerous carbon monoxide and require well-ventilated interior spaces when used indoors.
The hydrogen fuel cell refueling process is simple and takes around three minutes compared to the longer and more complex charging a vast, heavy lead-acid battery.
In comparison to propane-powered forklift refueling, the hydrogen fuel cell refueling procedure provides an advantage. Due to the high energy density of hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen-powered equipment may operate for more extended periods of time and require less frequent recharging than equipment driven by a propane cylinder.
Hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries have nearly similar energy densities, making them excellent solutions for busy businesses that require equipment to operate for an entire shift.
DISADVANTAGE-USING FOSSIL FUELS TO PRODUCE HYDROGEN: While hydrogen fuel cells do not release toxic gases during operation, the same cannot be said of the hydrogen fuel manufacturing process. Indeed, hydrogen energy is practically energy neutral, requiring almost as much energy to make as it produces.
While hydrogen is one of the most abundant extended periods on the planet, it is often covalently bound to other elements. It must be isolated before being used for energy purposes.
A popular method of isolating hydrogen is by a process called reforming. This method is expensive and produces carbon dioxide, which works against employing an emission-free energy source.
The other method is to isolate hydrogen using electrolysis, which involves extracting it from water and separating it from the oxygen molecule using an electrical current.
Although the source of this electrical current might be anything, electricity is most frequently generated nowadays by natural gas-fueled power plants.
The only carbon-neutral method of hydrogen fuel cell power generation is to employ solar or wind energy to power the electrolysis process.
Due to the complexity of the hydrogen fuel manufacturing process, hydrogen fuel cells are more expensive to use than other kinds of energy. When considering which energy source to integrate into material handling equipment, fleet managers must ensure that hydrogen fuel and infrastructure expenses are offset by the substantial labor savings achieved by switching from lead-acid to hydrogen.