While relying entirely on solar energy might seem like the best way to create sustainable energy, the fact remains that the sun doesn’t shine all day and many places around the globe simply do not receive enough usable solar hours to keep the lights on. Two companies are pairing up to see if they can combine two forms of green power — solar and hydrogen fuel cells — to create the perfect sustainable energy solution.
Introducing the Players
PowerCell is a company that specializes in hydrogen cell fuel stacks and systems, designed to produce both heat and electricity. The major benefit of hydrogen fuel cells is that they can do both without any emissions or waste. The electrochemical reaction in these systems only produce water as a byproduct as the hydrogen in the cells combines with oxygen in the atmosphere.
SolTech, on the other hand, is one of Sweden’s leading suppliers for solar cell solutions. They specialize in solar arrays that get integrated directly into the roofs and facades of the target buildings.
While they’re both leaders in the field of green energy, the two approach the topic from totally different angles. So how is Scandinavian company Amokabel bringing them together?
An Upcoming Feasibility Study
Both PowerCell and SolTech recently signed an agreement to participate in a feasibility study to determine if combining solar and hydrogen fuel cell technology is a feasible option for sustainability. As Amokabel has expanded its production, it has run into problems maintaining grid capacity.
The feasibility study will explore whether combining the two technologies could help offset some of those grid capacity problems. In theory, the fuel cells will store any excess energy from the solar panels. In turn, the cells can transmit that energy back into the grid as needed.
Fuel Cell Popularity Is Growing
Sweden isn’t the only country studying the feasibility of fuel cell technology. German company Bosch paired up with PowerCell early in 2019 to develop, manufacture and sell the S3 version of the company’s hydrogen power cell, which is designed for automotive applications.
Then, in 2019, PowerCell opened a sales office in China, with the country offering one of the biggest potential growth markets in the world. The Chinese government is making changes to reduce emissions, and switching to the use of hydrogen fuel cells is part of that plan.
Hydrogen power cells aren’t a new technology, but they’re starting to emerge into the mainstream as a viable option for sustainable energy.
Looking Toward the Future
The news of the joint feasibility study between SolTech and PowerCell just hit the airwaves, so it will be some time before we have any results to review. Pairing solar technology with hydrogen fuel cells may prove to be an even more viable option than battery walls because they don’t require expensive rare earth metals to construct and only generate water as a byproduct.
It might not be long before we start to see hydrogen fuel cells in everything from homes to automobiles and everything in between, but we may have to wait for the results of this study to see if we might see them as part of the power grid.
Emily Folk, Contributor
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