This fuel cell systems cause pollutant emissions only

This
paper first reviewed the basic principle of fuel cell technology and then
discussed the different aspects associated with the use of fuel cell technology
for combined heat and power (CHP) systems in various application areas. The
application areas discussed in this paper were single-family residential CHP,
medium scale CHP for apartment buildings and CHP for hospitals. In each of
these applications, the energy, environmental, and economic aspects resulting
from the use of fuel cell CHP systems were studied relative to the conventional
systems used in each application.

As
fuel cells have higher efficiency and produce negligible pollutants during
their end use, the use of fuel cells reduced the energy consumption and
emissions of pollutants by a significant amount
in each of the considered application. Also, as fuel cell systems cause
pollutant emissions only during the fuel (hydrogen) production stage and not
during the actual use of the fuel cell, these emissions can further be lowered
by using renewable sources for hydrogen production. However, economic factors
related to the use of fuel cells are not very attractive. In each of the
discussed applications, the cost of fuel cell systems was considerably more than the conventional systems respective to
that application. Therefore, the adoption of fuel cell technologies would only
be agreeable by either increasing the cost of conventional energy sources or by reducing the cost of fuel cell systems.

This
literature review reiterates the fact that fuel cells are the best bet to
replace the fossil fuel based conventional energy sources in a wide range of
applications. Fuel cell technology provides significant energy and
environmental results that are almost impossible to obtain from fossil fuel
based energy sources. However, it is the economic factor that is obstructing
the transition from conventional sources towards the fuel cell technology. If
advancements can be done in this area and cost of fuel cells can be reduced at
least to figures which are closer to these conventional energy sources, it
would lead to an energy efficient and pollution free world.

In
my opinion, the two areas which need immediate and significant work are the development of cost-friendly catalyst instead
of platinum and development of cheaper hydrogen production and supply systems. As
these are the major costs associated with a fuel cell system, reducing these
heavy costs can considerably lower the overall cost of the system.