Analysis of hydrogen fuel cell and battery efficiency

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The electric sector is going under a major transformation to foster the ability to absorb and distribute efficiently the increasing number of renewable capacity connected to the grid. This means that renewable electrification can assist other sectors to decarbonise fast and on a large scale. The share of electric motors systems is projected to grow from the current 9% (Melroy et al., 2018) to around 30% (Waide & Brunner, 2011) of energy end-use. Those figures are significantly affecting the motor system numbers which are implicated into one of the two major decarbonisation options involving electrification, electric vehicles (EVs). The transition towards a world free of carbon emissions will determine the future of this generation. The scale required for the energy transition is massive and affects every sector of the economy. Except electricity, hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources might be an alternative if cost effective and efficient production technologies can be developed. As the world accelerating its effort to reduce – and even eliminate – the use of fossil fuels from the energy sector, electric vehicles have seen an incredible development over the last 5 years. The first 8 months of 2018, more than 1 million electric vehicles were sold around the world; while 2017 it took 11 months to reach that threshold (Insideevs, 2018). Despite there are many available brands, there are only two choices when it comes to powering electric vehicles: fuel cells or batteries. Both hydrogen and electricity for batteries can be produced from renewable sources. Japan has announces its intention to support and hydrogen and pledged to introduce 160 hydrogen stations and 40,000 fuel-cell vehicles by March 2021 (Tajitsu & Tsukimori, 2018). At first sight, hydrogen has all the benefits to replace fossil fuels. Compressed hydrogen energy per unit mass of nearly 40,000 Wh/Kg (Hydrogen Fuel Cell Engines MODULE 1: HYDROGEN PROPERTIES CONTENTS, 2001). Lithium ion batteries are able of achieving of 260 Wh/Kg, which is 151 energy per kg for hydrogen. Because of its energy density and its lightweight, hydrogen is being able to provide extended range without adding significant weight, which is a significant barrier of incorporating into aviation industry.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventWorld Sustainable Energy Days 2019. Young Energy Researchers Conference - Wels, Austria
Duration: 27 Feb 20191 Mar 2019


ConferenceWorld Sustainable Energy Days 2019. Young Energy Researchers Conference


  • Energy efficiency
  • Electric vehicles
  • Hydrogen
  • Fuel cell
  • Energy density
  • Lithium Ion


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