Hydrogen fuel is gaining traction as a reliable source of clean energy. It’s abundant compared to carbon and other traditional fuel sources, is climate-neutral, and has outstanding value as a potential enabler of the global transition to sustainable energy and net zero emissions economies. This benefit makes it an ideal target for startups and entrepreneurs wanting to build a business to meet these needs.
Below, we’ll explore what hydrogen fuel is, how it’s shaping various industries, and how to leverage it in your business.
An Overview of Hydrogen Fuel
Hydrogen fuel is clean burning and stores up to three times more energy per pound than conventional fuels. It’s commonly produced by either steam methane reformation or methane pyrolysis. Steam methane reformation uses heat and pressure to split methane into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. In this process, methane is obtained as a biproduct from the use of natural gas. The methane is then mixed with steam and pressure to create hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide (CO).
Methane pyrolysis is a less-used method for producing hydrogen, where methane is split into solid carbon and liquid hydrogen in a high-heat process. The drawback to methane pyrolysis is that it requires carbon sequestration to prevent environmental escape.
Producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources is commonly referred to as “Green Hydrogen.”
Hydrogen Fuel Applications
Hydrogen fuel has the potential to support many clean energy transitions, and the growing trend of producing hydrogen exclusively using renewable power sources like wind and solar has begun to move Green Hydrogen forward.
As Green Hydrogen evolves, its use will expand to several applications beyond buses and cars. We can expect to see the development of smaller fuel cells and custom-sized fuel cells for use within specific industries or machinery. It will also be available for equipment and vehicles which had restricted access to alternative fuels in the past due to technological barriers.
On the large-scale end of the spectrum, Green Hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to power locomotives, planes, and jets, all of which are still highly carbon centric. Boats and submarines will also become capable of using hydrogen fuel in place of diesel.
Green hydrogen will fuel mobile power supplies and act as an uninterruptable power supply for critical infrastructure like hospitals and emergency responder stations. It can also provide backup power and cooling for data farms and other critical data infrastructure.
Custom-sized fuel cells will empower advancements in fork trucks, pallet jacks, and other material-handling machinery within warehousing and logistics. Hydrogen fuel is also promising for drones and other UAVs in military and commercial applications where a fuel cell can power devices with a range of up to three times that of batteries.
How to Take Advantage of Hydrogen Fuel Technology and Green Hydrogen
The use of hydrogen fuel technology is expanding rapidly. Entrepreneurs and new business owners have an ever-increasing entry point to design products and services around this growth.
Businesses built around custom-designed fuel cells, hydrogen recharging stations specific to certain OEM equipment, and mobile recharging services are examples of how companies can build on this technology.
As hydrogen fuel technology takes hold, there will be a growing need for modifying existing equipment to ease the pain of replacement and speed up adoption.
Start Powering Your Business with Hydrogen
Whether your business is looking to build on hydrogen technology or incorporate it into your business strategy, the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College is here to help.
With entrepreneurship, R&D, and business innovation programs, HBEC has staff and resources to help you accomplish your goals and position yourself for success with hydrogen fuel.
To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.