There is considerable debate among consumers over whether hydrogen fuel cell stacks are worth buying. Is the investment worth the benefits? What are the drawbacks? And how can you know if now is the right time to make a decision? If you’re looking to buy a fuel cell stack – we’ll take you through all the information you need to know.
Things to Consider When Buying a Fuel Cell Stack
- Cost: While prices have dropped dramatically in recent years, fuel cell stacks can still be expensive compared to battery electric power. With prices varying between $ 550 and $ 6000/kW, you’ll need to consider the price tag and any maintenance costs associated with ongoing use.
- Infrastructure: Fuel cell stacks need specialized infrastructure to run on hydrogen fuel. While some locations have an extensive hydrogen fuel infrastructure – like California in the USA – others still lack the necessary connections, pipelines and hydrogen fuel delivery options that fuel cell stacks need to function. This can be a big problem for individuals and organizations in remote locations where accessing hydrogen fuel is difficult.
Advantages of Fuel Cell Stacks
While there are some things to consider when buying a fuel cell stack – like their cost and the infrastructure available in your region – these systems offer an array of advantages compared to combustion engines or battery power.
- Energy Efficiency: Fuel Cell Stacks are extremely energy efficient. While the typical combustion engine has an efficiency of around 27%, fuel cell stacks can achieve efficiency ratings of up to 60% or more. Horizon’s H-1000 XP Fuel Cell Stack, for example, has reached an efficiency of 59% in real-world conditions. Despite the price tag, then, fuel cell stacks can convert more energy from their fuel into usable power.
- Environmental Benefits: With the climate crisis and environment at the forefront of people’s minds, fuel cell stacks are one of the cleanest forms of power generation out there. Emitting nothing but water and heat, these renewable energy systems are incredibly clean and green compared to traditional fossil fuels.
- Fast Refuelling: Fuel Cell Stacks have one significant advantage over battery technology: fast refuelling. Recharging a battery-powered commercial vehicle or truck can take 8 hours or even longer. In contrast, fuel cell-powered vehicles can be refuelled in minutes. This advantage – which can mean more daily work hours for commercial vehicles – can help offset the fuel cell price in the long run.
- Longevity: Fuel cell stacks are incredibly long-lasting. While batteries and other renewable energy technology can wear out over time, fuel cell stacks are known for being durable, hard-wearing, and able to withstand harsh conditions. This means you’ll get more value back for your investment over the long term.
- Versatility: Unlike batteries and other renewable energy power sources, fuel cell stacks are incredibly versatile. Not only are these systems able to operate in icy conditions (up to – 40C), but they can be used for stationary power generation, transportation, or portable power sources.
So, Are Fuel Cell Stacks Worth Buying?
After cost and local hydrogen infrastructure are considered, fuel cell stacks offer many advantages compared to battery or fossil fuel-based systems. They’re not only extraordinarily energy-efficient and produce zero emissions at the power source, but they can be refuelled fast, last a long time, and are incredibly versatile. Buying a fuel cell stack is therefore beginning to seem like a more attractive option for countless organizations and individuals around the world.