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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology 101

Few sectors are drawing in more speculative cash than the emerging hydrogen economy. While many have little understanding of hydrogen fuel cells’ limitations, it’s not without its challenges like many new, novel technologies.

In a recent video from Undecided with Matt Ferrell, the truth about hydrogen fuel cell technology is explored.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Market Set for Massive Growth

Few sectors are forecast to grow as fast as the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market over the coming years. According to a recent publication by Valuates Reports,

“The hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market size was valued at USD 651.9 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 42,038.9 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 66.9% from 2019 to 2026.”

Matt Ferrell explains,

“The way fuel cells work should look kind of familiar if you know how batteries and supercapacitors work.”

Let’s pretend that few of us don’t. 🙂

Ferrell continues,

“They are made up of an anode-cathode and electrolyte, just like a battery. On the anode side, you supply a source of fuel, like hydrogen, which uses something like platinum to act as a catalyst causing the fuel to undergo oxidation, which is generating the ions.

Now, these ions, which are positively charged, travel to the cathode through the electrolyte and electrical circuit. This is where the direct current is captured and put to use.”

Ferrell argues that,

“It’s the power efficiency that is the Achilles heel on all the fuel cells when you compare it to battery energy storage.”

fuel cell technology efficiency comparison

“So, why haven’t fuel cells faded off into the land of misfit toys?”

Ferrell argues that,

“Fuel cells start to make a pretty good use case for themselves when you need to deliver non-stop power in a specific location.”

He highlights data centers and other facilities that use fuel cell backups.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies to See Continued Development

He warns about challenges to passenger fuel cell vehicles and contends why they have yet to be deployed en masse. While the video is from September of 2020, the hydrogen fuel cell market changes every month with rapid development. Because of this, for investors and speculators in the space, research must be ongoing.


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