The change from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require energy storage. It has taken hundreds of millions of years for the Earth to convert sunlight to the storable oil and gases which power buildings, industry and transport. Fuel cells powered by hydrogen and ethanol can provide a cost effective alternative. The electrochemical process does not have harmful emissions of nitrogen and sulphur oxides nor the particulates produced by combustion engines. Pure water is the only emission of fuel cells powered by hydrogen and oxygen.
The use of fuel cells powered by renewable energy can help to meet stringent climate change targets. Hydrogen can be obtained by the electrolysis of water when the available wind or solar power exceeds demand.
Huge amounts of energy are also available from household, industrial, agricultural and forestry waste, which can be converted to ethanol. Ethanol from this source is carbon neutral as no additional CO2 is added to the atmosphere or the oceans. The electrochemical process can also separate the carbon dioxide emitted by fuel cells using air or a hydrocarbon fuel. This can then be recycled in stationary applications and used as a growth enhancer or to form synthetic natural gas.
It is now possible to generate your own electricity and heat on site using indigenous fuels, with zero emissions. The fuel cell systems can be utilised alongside intermittent wind or solar power to store energy for when it is needed. Waste is also a low cost source of renewable energy for communities and industries.
Fuel Cell Power outlines the key to improving the environment as well as economic performance. It is freely available to download.