One of the most persistent myths is that fuel cells are always a decade away. Sadly, until recently, this was not far from the truth. In was in the last handful of years that the industry started to move to commercial production.
When I say commercial, though, it is not in the private finance sense of the word in terms of earning profits for the company, but in terms of availability to adopt (buy or lease) with warranty and service capability. Within the next couple of financial years, though, we will see a number of fuel cell companies turning the corner into profit. But getting back to the point of this myth, commercial availability.
Today if you want you can adopt a range of products with stationary fuel cells embedded into them. These include CHP units for commercial buildings such as hospitals and prisons and fuel cell UPS units for base stations. Outside of stationary fuel cells, which are increasingly becoming the foundation on which the rest of the industry is being built, there are forklifts and APUs for leisure vehicles in the transport sector and generators and units for remote monitoring in the portable sector. OK, that’s not an exhaustive list but already disproves the myth that fuel cells are always ten years away.
If we look forward just a little bit we see a massively expanded list of products becoming available. And trust me this table is not exhaustive, but a snapshot list. And this is my take on it. We get products a bit earlier or release dates may slip a year or do – but not a decade.
In ten years’ time, in 2021, the energy ecosystem we live in will be very different. It will be a lot more diverse, we will use as standard a much broader range of fuels and fuel cells that will be part of the everyday transport, stationary and portable mix. You don’t have to wait a decade though to use fuel cells. You can do it today.
Article by Kerry-Ann Adamson, appearing courtesy the Matter Network.