First invented in 1839 by Welsh scientist William Robert Grove, it wouldn’t be for another century that fuel cells were first used commercially, and this was by NASA in its Project Gemini programme in the 1960s. The US space agency’s second human spaceflight programme used fuel cells to generate power for probes, satellites and space capsules.
Fuel cells aren’t a new technology, but they haven’t yet gone mainstream. However, the past 18 months have seen fuel cells gain a significant amount of attention, which could signal we are at a turning point for this technology.
“Over the last 18 months a perfect storm has developed around the fuel cell industry. Firstly, many governments around the world have recently published their long-term green recovery plans for a post-pandemic world, with most taking the opportunity to set zero emissions targets and supporting green initiatives with substantial subsidies and incentives,” Phil Caldwell, CEO of Ceres Power, told H2 View.
“This government support has given corporates, who are part of the fossil fuel economy, the confidence to invest in their energy transitions as they move away from carbon-intensive energy sources to future fuels that include hydrogen and ammonia. In parallel, the ESG movement has now come into mainstream investment markets, providing a source of capital that corporates can deploy to support their green initiatives.”
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