High costs constrain commercialisation of fuel cells too soon


While the power cell industry has a rare opportunity,fuel cells have also ushered in rapid development.Compared with lithium batteries,fuel cells have the advantages of high energy conversion efficiency,long service life,less maintenance work and continuous high-power power supply.However,due to various constraints,the fuel cell industry is still in the stage of commercialization and still has a long way to go before it can be applied on a large scale.

High costs constrain commercialisation of fuel cells too soon

Fuel cells are gaining momentum

Fuel cell research and development will bring about a profound revolution in portable electronic devices,as well as centralized power supply systems in the automotive,residential and social sectors.It will bring people from centralized power supply into a new era of decentralized power supply.Although solar power can replace part of the energy,but it is restricted by the weather and climate,and there are safety problems in the use of nuclear energy.And fuel cell power,no carbon dioxide emissions,solve the problem of global environmental pollution caused by thermal power generation,is the pure green clean energy.With the key technology bottleneck of fuel cell being solved and new technology being developed and commercialized,fuel cell technology will surely have a broad development prospect.

Data show that from 2010 to 2015,the global fuel cell shipments totaled about 289,900 units,with a compound annual growth rate of 32%.About 71,500 fuel cell units were shipped in 2015,up 12.42 percent year on year.

In terms of delivery capacity,from 2010 to 2015,the cumulative global fuel cell delivery system capacity was about 1110.7MW,with a compound annual growth rate of 30%.In 2015,the capacity of fuel cell delivery system was about 342.7MW,with a year-on-year increase of 84.84%.It can be seen that with the gradual maturity of fuel cell technology and the persification of application fields,the capacity of fuel cell single electric reactor is growing rapidly.

Constraints on fuel cell development

First of all,high cost is the key factor restricting the industrialization of fuel cells.The largest component of fuel cell costs is fuel cells,followed by hydrogen fuel tanks and battery accessories.If fuel cells are to be commercialized in the future and compete with internal combustion engine vehicles,the cost of fuel cell packs will have to come down,mainly involving the cost of key components,including platinum catalysts,electrolyte membranes,bipolar plates,hydrogen fuel tanks and battery accessories.

Restricting the cost factors of fuel cell industrialization

Secondly,there are many types of fuel cells,among which the primary problem of hydrogen fuel cell research and development is to solve the source of hydrogen,that is,how to produce hydrogen cheaply.Traditional industrial hydrogen production methods are mainly hydrogen production from fossil materials and hydrogen production from water electrolysis.With the increasing demand for large-scale hydrogen production,biological hydrogen production,thermal-chemical hydrogen production and solar photocatalytic hydrogen production have been widely used.From the perspective of cost,in the initial stage of fuel cell promotion,hydrogen production should be mainly distributed,which can further control the cost and is convenient to use.However,with the large-scale development of fuel cells in the future,the cost and environmental advantages of centralized hydrogen production will be further highlighted.

Thirdly,in the promotion of fuel cell vehicles,the most important constraint factor is the lack of supporting facilities,that is,the coverage rate of hydrogen refueling stations is too small,and the high construction cost makes the construction of hydrogen refueling stations can only be used as experimental operation.China currently has four hydrogen refuelling stations,all of which are in demonstration status and have not been commercialized yet,but these are far from enough to meet the requirements of fuel cell industrialization promotion.

Finally,storage and safety.Hydrogen is normally stored and transported in three forms:high-pressure gaseous,liquid,and hydride states.In the short term,hydrogen storage in high-pressure tanks is still the main means of hydrogen storage and transportation.However,in the long run,hydrogen storage materials with high hydrogen storage capacity,high safety,fast absorption/dehydrogenation rate,long life and low cost are more needed.Therefore,light hydrogen storage materials,organic liquid hydrogen storage materials and other low-pressure or atmospheric hydrogen storage materials will become the focus of future development.