Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that can be used
to power nearly every end-use energy need. The fuel
cell — an energy conversion device that can efficiently
capture and use the power of hydrogen — is the key to
making it happen.
4Stationary fuel cells can be used for backup power,
power for remote locations, distributed power
generation, and cogeneration (in which excess
heat released during electricity generation is used
for other applications).
4Fuel cells can power almost any portable application
that typically uses batteries, from hand-held devices
to portable generators.
4Fuel cells can also power our transportation, including
personal vehicles, trucks, buses, and marine vessels,
as well as provide auxiliary power to traditional
transportation technologies. Hydrogen can play a
particularly important role in the future by replacing
the imported petroleum we currently use in our cars
Why Fuel Cells?
4Fuel cells directly convert the chemical energy in
hydrogen to electricity, with pure water and potentially
useful heat as the only byproducts.
4Hydrogen-powered fuel cells are not only pollution-
free, but also can have two to three times the efficiency
of traditional combustion technologies.
• A conventional combustion-based power plant
typically generates electricity at efficiencies of 33
to 35 percent, while fuel cell systems can generate
electricity at efficiencies up to 60 percent (and even
higher with cogeneration).
• The gasoline engine in a conventional car is less
than 20% efficient in converting the chemical energy
in gasoline into power that moves the vehicle,
under normal driving conditions. Hydrogen fuel
cell vehicles, which use electric motors, are much
more energy efficient and use 40-60 percent of
the fuel’s energy — corresponding to more than
a 50% reduction in fuel consumption, compared
to a conventional vehicle with a gasoline internal