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PERSPECTIVES FROM THE FIELD: Beyond Oil: Economic and Ecologic Options with Hydrogen-Based Energy Use and Storage

  • Thomas von Unwerth, Feras Al-Saleh (a1) and Abdelwahhab Al-Kharabsheh

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What's beyond oil? This question is leading to one of the most important debates these days. Even if oil resources are only decreasing slowly (but surely), other options to power the future are essential in consideration of climate changes due to greenhouse gas emissions. An obvious solution can be found looking at the perpetual solar energy supply, especially in regions with high availability of sun irradiation. Converting this renewable energy with wind turbines or photovoltaic or solar power plants is common by now. But storing and using the electric energy generated with these technologies is quite difficult because of low energy densities obtained from current battery technologies. By contrast, hydrogen energy storage has the advantage of its higher energy density. It can be used, for example, for auxiliary power units (APUs) in combination with fuel cell systems, for powering automotive fuel cell–based drivetrains, or for local energy supply in fuel cell power plants. Additionally, hydrogen can be transported easily by trucks or pipelines even over long distances and can be distributed and sold. From the economic perspective, with hydrogen and fuel cells some interesting business models can be developed. Investing in hydrogen production and storage equipment, fuel cell systems for APUs and vehicle drivetrains, or a hydrogen infrastructure, return on invest can be seen some years ahead by selling hydrogen or fuel cell systems to national and international customers with increased ecologic responsibility. Finally, in spite of the longer energy conversion chain for hydrogen compared to pure electrical energy storage, hydrogen with the described advantages generated from renewable energies used in fuel cells is definitely an economic and ecologic chance for a greener future.

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Corresponding author

Feras Al-Saleh, Jordanian Renewable Energy Society (JRES), Amman-Abu Nsair; (phone) 00962 6 5240095; (fax) 00962 6 5240096; (e-mail) feras.alsaleh@yahoo.de

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PERSPECTIVES FROM THE FIELD: Beyond Oil: Economic and Ecologic Options with Hydrogen-Based Energy Use and Storage

  • Thomas von Unwerth, Feras Al-Saleh (a1) and Abdelwahhab Al-Kharabsheh

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