How it works
Hydrogen (H2) is the most abundant element in the universe and can easily be created from renewable energy and water. Research on hydrogen use, either directly or through fuel cells is advancing rapidly.
Why Hydrogen Storage?
Hydrogen storage is a really good solution when you have excess renewable energy. A good example is when there is wind at night, and you are asleep. In this case, wind turbines may still be generating a lot of power, but there will be no load to use that power. That is where storing the excess wind generation into hydrogen comes in handy. By storing this energy in hydrogen gas, one can use it as fuel in filling station dispensers for cars, buses, trucks, boats, planes, trains, and even space rockets. But that’s not all, you can also use hydrogen as a fuel for cooking, heating, and cooling, to produce ammonia fertiliser, methanol, and other chemical commodities. This is why hydrogen storage is so unique. You can literally use hydrogen anywhere and everywhere you can think of energy.
It is always best to use the electricity as and when it is produced but if you need to store it for use when there is no sun and no wind, there are choices. If you happen to have a lake at the top of a hill you can pump water up into the lake and run it down through a generator/alternator when you need electricity. Batteries are currently the most popular and economic method of storing energy but, heavy metals and rare earth minerals are in short supply; recycling is expensive or non-existent or toxic, and recharging and battery discharging over time make them unlikely stars for the sustainable energy future. Bottles of hydrogen maintain 100% energy over time. Hydrogen is a clean and non-polluting way of storing energy. It is currently relatively expensive and many of the smaller electrolysers currently use small amounts of iridium and platinum as catalysts, but the larger ones use a potassium hydroxide solution and some use Solid Oxide catalysts. Humble Hydrogen researchers are helping to reduce the use of rare metals and to find alternative non-metallic catalysts.