ECN publication
Analysis of opportunities and synergies in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Hydrogen and Clean Fossil Fuels 22-9-2009
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-E--09-062 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
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This report is a deliverable of the Roads2HyCom project ( , document number: R2H4007PU.2 , 7 April 2009, a partnership of 29 stakeholder organisations supported by the European Commission Framework Six programme. The project is studying technical and socio-economic issues associated with the use of fuel cells and hydrogen in a sustainable energy economy.
Within the project, several studies have been made related to the state of the art of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. This study, Task 5 of the Work Package 4 (WT4.5) analyses 23 potential fuel cell/hydrogen applications and identifies:
• Gaps in the performance and costs of hydrogen technologies that need to be bridged to become a competitive alternative to conventional (or so-called reference) technologies,
• Priorities in the research required to bridge these gaps and
• Opportunities for near-term application of hydrogen technologies, including and comparing potential CO2 emission reductions.
The results of this study should help stakeholders and communities that show commitment in developing hydrogen activities in their choice of considered applications. Light duty trucks, forklifts in 24/5 operation, sightseeing boats, outdoor utility vehicles, license-free cars and back-up systems for telecommunications as well as passenger cars have been identified as near- to mid-term market opportunities, whereas the latter show the highest potential for CO2 emission reductions. However, research needs to deliver projected advances in cost reduction for the applications to become economically attractive.
Identified priorities could be used by communities to develop investment decisions with positive impacts on markets for fuel cell/hydrogen technologies. For the PEMFC this means increasing the power density of the fuel cell in order to reduce material needs and hence material costs, using less platinum or other materials than platinum as catalyst and increasing the durability (lifetime) of the stack and the fuel cell system as a whole. Possible future situations for passenger cars, light duty trucks and buses were assumed and evaluated as well. Technological developments, stricter emission policies and a higher price on conventional fuels will lead to a more favourable situation for fuel cell/hydrogen technologies, but the cost of hydrogen will have critical influence on the economics whatsoever.
Thus, any activity that can lead to a reduction of the price of hydrogen, including the whole pathway from production to dispensing (source-to-user) will help FC/H2 technologies to gain ground.

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