24 Hydrogen Fuel Advantages and Disadvantages

Water and electricity are produced as byproducts of the chemical interaction between hydrogen gas and oxygen inside a fuel cell, which powers hydrogen fuel cells.

While many believed that hydrogen power would spark a clean energy revolution in the 1990s and early 2000s, the new world of hydrogen energy was never realized. Infrastructure is a significant barrier to the majority of new energy sources.

The high cost of production, subpar manufacturing and production efficiency, and challenging storage and transportation needs have prevented hydrogen fuel cells from being widely used in consumer cars.

For those who can afford the necessary infrastructure to support it, the hydrogen fuel cell makes greater sense for industrial applications. The benefits and drawbacks of using hydrogen fuel cells to power material handling equipment will be discussed in this article.

Hydrogen Fuel Advantages and Disadvantages

S/No.The Advantages of Hydrogen FuelThe Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel
1.Versatility of Use
Hydrogen fuel cells will be able to supply energy for a variety of stationary and mobile applications as technology develops.
Vehicles driven by hydrogen are only one example; smaller products like household goods and larger-scale heating systems could also use hydrogen.
In contrast to battery-based power, which scales power linearly with mass, energy storage capacity (i.e., the fuel tank) and engine size are decoupled in ICE powerplants, offering significant design freedom.
Hydrogen Extraction
The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen, is an inert gas that needs to be extracted from carbon-based fossil fuels or recovered from water by electrolysis.
These two operations require a significant amount of energy to be completed.
In addition to being costly, this energy may be greater than that obtained from the hydrogen itself.
Furthermore, this extraction usually necessitates the use of fossil fuels, which compromises hydrogen’s environmental credentials in the absence of CCS.
2.Long Usage Times
Greater usage time efficiencies are provided by hydrogen fuel cells.
A hydrogen vehicle can travel 300 miles, which is the same distance as a fossil fuel vehicle.
This is better than what electric vehicles (EVs) already provide, which are being developed with fuel cell power units as “range-extenders” more and more.
Additionally, the temperature outside has little effect on hydrogen fuel cells, and they do not degrade in cold climates.
The benefit is amplified when combined with the rapid charging periods.
Investment is Required
Investment is required for the development of hydrogen fuel cells to the point where they are a truly practical energy source.
To advance and mature the technology, political will must also be shown to devote the necessary time and resources to development.
To put it simply, the world’s difficulty in the development of ubiquitous and sustainable hydrogen energy is figuring out how to most economically create the “supply and demand” chain piece by piece.
3. Greater strength and energy efficiency compared to fossil fuels
Hydrogen fuel cell technology provides a very dense and efficient energy source.
Of all the common fuels, hydrogen has the highest energy content.
High-pressure gaseous and liquid hydrogen has a volumetric energy density that is comparable to natural gas and about three times the gravimetric energy density (around 120 MJ/kg) of LNG and diesel.
Cost of Raw Materials
Because precious metals like iridium and platinum are frequently needed as catalysts in some kinds of water electrolyzers and fuel cells, the initial cost of fuel cells can be high.
Some people have refrained from investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology due to its exorbitant cost.
To make hydrogen fuel cells a practical fuel source for everyone, these expenses must be lowered.
4. Highly Efficient when Compared to Other Energy Sources
Compared to many other energy sources, including many green energy options, hydrogen fuel cells are more efficient.
With this fuel efficiency, more energy may be produced for every pound of fuel used.
For instance, the efficiency of generating electricity using conventional combustion-based power plants ranges from 33–35%, while hydrogen fuel cells can achieve up to 65%.
Similarly, hydrogen fuel cells in cars reduce fuel usage by 50% while using 40–60% of the energy contained in the fuel.
Regulatory Issues
Obstacles also surround legal matters about the structure that specifies commercial deployment models.
In the absence of well-defined regulatory frameworks that facilitate comprehension of cost and revenue foundation, commercial ventures may encounter difficulties in arriving at a financial investment decision (FID).
5. Convenient for heavy transport and trains
As hydrogen propulsion is still relatively new, heavy-duty transportation and railroads are two industries for which it may be practical to use it right away.
If electric batteries were used in place of the combustion engine in these vehicles, the batteries would need to be very large, heavy, and take a very long time to charge.
Conversely, hydrogen presents the benefits of a more compact propulsion system, quick refueling, and a long driving range.
It can be charged at docks along the highways that HGV fleets use the most, without requiring the construction of a capillary distribution network, or at all of the major railway stations.
Overall Cost
At the moment, hydrogen fuel cells are more expensive per unit of power than other energy sources, such as solar panels.
Even though hydrogen is more efficient once created, the cost is now a barrier to its widespread use.
This may change as technology progresses.
Widespread adoption is currently improbable due to this expense’s impact on future expenses, such as the cost of automobiles that run on hydrogen.
Utilizing hydrogen fuel cells is more expensive than using other energy sources due to the complexity of the hydrogen fuel manufacturing process.
Fleet managers must ensure that the substantial labor savings over lead acid offset the costs of infrastructure and hydrogen fuel when deciding which energy source to include in material handling equipment.
6. Used for Powering Space Ships
The power and efficiency of hydrogen energy make it the perfect fuel for spacecraft. 
Because of its immense power, spaceships may be swiftly launched on exploration missions.
It’s also the safest energy source to use for a task that requires a lot of energy.
In actuality, hydrogen energy is three times more powerful than fuel derived from fossil fuels like gasoline. Ideally, this means using less hydrogen to finish a huge task.
Additionally, it provides motive power for vehicles, boats, autos, and fuel cell applications that are stationary or portable.
The fact that storing hydrogen in cryogenic or high-pressure tanks is essentially impossible is a drawback to using hydrogen in automobiles.
Hydrogen Storage
Hydrogen requires more sophisticated storage and transportation than fossil fuels do.
This suggests that using hydrogen fuel cells as a source of energy may come with additional expenditures.
Although hydrogen can be kept in liquid form at cryogenic temperatures or as a gas in high-pressure tanks, it can only be kept in gas form for use in lift truck fuel cells.
Energy is lost throughout the hydrogen storage process using either method.
About 13% of the hydrogen’s total energy must be used to compress it; and liquefy it to lose approximately 40% of its energy.
Metals may corrode if hydrogen gas manages to escape its confinement.
This consequently may cause these tainted metals to become brittle and more likely to break.
Businesses that presently use hydrogen power have two options: if they require larger quantities of fuel, they must construct a plant, or they can have hydrogen gas supplied to them via tube trailers. 
7.Fast Charging Times
When compared to battery-powered electric vehicles, the charging time of hydrogen fuel cell power units is noticeably faster.
It is comparable to that of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles.
Hydrogen fuel cells can be recharged in less than five minutes, but electric vehicles need many hours to fully charge.
Because of their quick charging times, hydrogen-powered cars offer the same level of freedom as regular automobiles.
Since fossil fuels have been used for many years, the infrastructure needed to supply this power is already in place.
Although start-to-end refueling is expected to be employed for long-distance applications like those for delivery trucks and HGVs, the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology for automotive applications would require new refueling infrastructure to support it.
8.No Noise Pollution
Unlike other renewable energy sources like wind power, hydrogen fuel cells don’t cause noise pollution.
This implies that vehicles fueled by hydrogen are far quieter than those with traditional internal combustion engines, much like electric automobiles.
Highly Flammable
Given that hydrogen is a very combustible fuel, safety concerns are reasonable. Gases containing hydrogen burn in air in concentrations between 4 and 75%.
9.Hydrogen is a flexible and clean energy source that can help with zero-carbon energy plans
Because everything that is produced during the operation of a hydrogen fuel cell is heat and water, it is an intrinsically clean source of energy.
Producing hydrogen doesn’t require a lot of land, unlike hydropower or biofuel.
NASA has been investigating the use of hydrogen as a resource and has even been using the water that is created as a byproduct to provide astronauts with drinking water.
This demonstrates that hydrogen fuel cells are an excellent alternative to coal, natural gas, and nuclear power since they are non-toxic fuel sources that are also easier to obtain.
By balancing their erratic supply modes with the demanding end-user needs, hydrogen production, storage, and use will play a vital role in promoting the further development of renewable energy sources and preventing the need for large upfront investments in grid infrastructure upgrades.
Hydrogen Energy Cannot Sustain the Population
Although hydrogen is abundant, its widespread use is restricted by the expense of its extraction.
You understand that it’s difficult to change the existing quo.
The planet is still run by fossil fuel energy.
Additionally, there is no framework in place to guarantee affordable and sustainable hydrogen energy for typical automobile owners in the future.
Even if hydrogen were to become widely available right now, it would take years for it to replace other energy sources since cars and gas stations would need to be modified to meet the regulations for hydrogen.
This would cost a significant amount of money.
Because hydrogen energy is widely available and its effects are mostly ignored, hydrogen is indeed a renewable resource.
To separate hydrogen from oxygen, however, businesses that produce it will require additional non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil.
Adopting hydrogen energy could help us reduce our over-reliance on fossil fuels, but eliminating it from the system would be difficult.
10.No Visual Pollution
While some low-carbon energy sources, including wind energy and biofuel power plants, can be unsightly, hydrogen fuel cells require less area, so there is also less visual pollution.
11.Renewable and Readily Available
The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is particularly abundant and renewable, making it ideal for our future zero-carbon demands for combined heat and power supply.
even with the difficulties involved in extracting it from water.
12.Ideal for Use in Remote Areas
Hydrogen produced locally and stored could prove to be a viable substitute for diesel-based electricity and heating in distant places, provided local conditions permit.
This would not only lessen the need for fuel transportation, but it will also enhance the quality of life for people residing in remote areas by providing fuel that is free of pollutants and derived from an easily accessible natural resource.
13.Almost Zero Emissions
Because hydrogen fuel cells don’t release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like fossil fuel sources do, pollution is reduced and air quality is improved.
14.Democratization of Power Supply
A country’s reliance on fossil fuels may be lessened with the use of hydrogen fuel cells, which will contribute to the global democratization of energy and power sources.
Many nations that now depend on the availability of fossil fuels will gain from this improved independence. Naturally, when supplies decline, this will also prevent the issue of growing fossil fuel prices.
15.Reduces Carbon Footprints
Hydrogen fuel cells have nearly zero emissions, meaning that when they are in use, they have no carbon footprint.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel


To sum up, hydrogen energy offers several benefits and drawbacks. Hydrogen can be a clean, renewable energy source, but before it is widely used, its production and storage costs must be reduced.

In its current form, hydrogen energy is not practical due to high costs and a lack of infrastructure.

Nonetheless, the field is gaining increasing attention, and funding is being allocated to address its difficulties. For instance, the European Union is funding initiatives comparable to these with USD 5.2 billion, and the United States just pledged USD 52.5 million for hydrogen development.

Governments all across the world could use hydrogen as a sustainable and affordable energy source in the future if they so choose.


Editor at EnvironmentGo! | providenceamaechi0@gmail.com | + posts

A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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