The Challenge of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Edited by Stefano Pogutz, Angeloantonio Russo and Paolo Migliavacca
There is a clear need to change the present global energy system in order to achieve sustainability. A transition from the fossil fuels based system seems to be inevitable due to environmental concerns, including the threatening consequences of global warming and climate change, due to geopolitical problems, and ultimately due to depletion of fluid fuels (oil and natural gas). Although such a fundamental change may cause economic hardship, this may be minor compared to the havoc that the continuous and unwieldy use of finite and polluting fossil fuels will ultimately cause. This transition will require not only change in energy sources, but also in energy carriers and in technologies required to convert them to the useful forms of energy we need. The most obvious carriers that may be used in the future are electricity and hydrogen, both non-polluting and both can be produced from any of the energy sources. Although the energy carriers of the future may be envisioned with some certainty, at least based on present knowledge, the transition to that energy future is less predictable. Fuel cells are devices that convert hydrogen to electricity – directly, efficiently and with no harmful emissions. A great deal of time, money and effort has been invested in fuel cell research, development and demonstrations since the late 1990s. A fuel cell industry is being developed. Fuel cells have great potential to serve the energy needs of transportation, and for stationary as well as portable power generation. While the radical change of the global...