Hydrogen – a safe alternative to traditional fuels

Energy and climate crises result in an increased interest in the use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) for the production of fuels. One of the most promising solutions is hydrogen, which has been successfully used in industry for decades. With the commercialization of hydrogen and the dissemination of the FCEV technology, there are more and more doubts about the safety of the introduced solutions, though.

The need for decarbonisation

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, the objectives of the European Commission and the US Senate’s “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” (IRA), one of the main goals of the green revolution is to move away from conventional fuels in transport. Hydrogen is gaining in importance as a result.

– The research we have conducted has been successful and we have obtained patents for new devices – a hydrogen generator and a hydrogen boiler. By using electricity from renewable energy sources, we can produce green hydrogen completely emission-free. In the case of the hydrogen generator, we apply electric current to its electrochemical cells, which dissociates water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. With hydrogen combustion processes in pure oxygen, the only by-products are water (steam) and heat energy. The latter can be used, for instance, as a source of heating – Sławomir Halbryt, CEO of Sescom SA, explains.

Using hydrogen as fuel

Compared to electric vehicles with batteries (BEVs), hydrogen power is characterized by greater flexibility of application. The use of hydrogen fuel does not reduce the travel range, does not add heavy batteries to the vehicle weight, and the time needed to refill the tanks does not differ significantly from refueling with traditional fuels. Hydrogen is likely to be broadly used in land, sea and (in the future) air transport. It can be used as fuel in hydrogen internal combustion engines that are similar to traditional engines or in fuel cells (in FCEVs).

Electricity generation based on hydrogen is used in FCEV cars, whose electric drive system is powered by a fuel cell. High-voltage electricity is generated by the electrochemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen in the FC system. It is then delivered to the power management system of the electric drive, where it powers the electric drive motors.

Hydrogen safety

The idea of using hydrogen as a transport fuel has raised safety concerns and created many myths. Hydrogen-related hazards arise in the event of its unplanned and undesirable release. They can be minimized by appropriate design of apparatus and devices, proper storage and proper handling.