The U.S. Senate officially recognized October 8, 2017, as National Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Day for the third straight year with the passage of Senate Resolution 287. RONN Motor Group, Inc. would like to thank Congress for its continued support as we joined the nation on October 8th to celebrate the important role hydrogen energy and fuel-cell technology play in the U.S.
As we continue to celebrate these rapidly advancing technological achievements, how much do you know about the most abundant element in the universe?
1. What is a fuel-cell?
A fuel-cell is an electrochemical device that uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce electricity, with water and heat as its by-products.
2. Where does hydrogen come from?
Hydrogen can be sourced from fossil fuels, such as natural gas or propane, or renewable fuels including anaerobic digester gas and landfill gas. Hydrogen can also be produced by water electrolysis, which can be powered by electricity from renewables such as solar or wind power or from nuclear energy and the electrical grid (the grid). RONN Motor Group, Inc. will produce hydrogen by water electrolysis using all renewable solar or wind power.
3. Is hydrogen safe?
YES! There is an abundance of misinformation regarding the safety of hydrogen. The fact is that hydrogen is equally as safe, if not safer, than alternative fuels (i.e. gasoline, diesel, lithium-ion batteries, natural gas, etc.) Why? Today’s high-strength carbon fiber hydrogen tanks are put through rigorous testing, including being blasted with 50-calibre ammo and the most stringent international crash test standards. According to energy.gov, a leading authority on the national policies regarding energy and safety, hydrogen fuel tanks are subjected to more than twice the maximum pressure expected under normal conditions to ensure they do not fail. To further ensure safety, these tanks undergo cycling tests in which they are pressurized and depressurized many more times than they would be during their lifetime on a vehicle. Worldwide, it has been estimated that millions of high-pressure composite tanks are in use in various commercial and industrial applications, and the overall safety record of these tanks has been excellent.
4. How is hydrogen better for the environment?
Hydrogen, the most abundant element on Earth, burns in the air, producing nothing but water vapor. It is, therefore, the cleanest, non-polluting fuel available. It offers zero pollution while reducing our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas effects. Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is critical to supporting human, animal and plant life. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing the Earth’s atmospheric temperature to rise. By utilizing hydrogen as a fuel-source, we are not only protecting our Earth, but also our health and the health of future generations.
5. What is a zero-emission vehicle?
A vehicle powered by an energy source that emits no waste products to pollute the environment or disrupt the climate. RONN Motor Group is committed to developing vehicles that will reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas effects by creating sustainable energy that will take us into tomorrow.
6. What is the difference between Battery Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles?
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) store electricity in a lithium-ion battery to power the vehicle which often results in:
• Extensive recharging times
• Limited driving range contributing to “range anxiety”
• Limited disposal options for lithium-ion batteries
• Environmentally toxic pollutants impacting landfills
Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are powered by electric motors, like BEVs. However, the electricity is produced by a chemical process inside the fuel-cell delivering electricity to the motor. In fact, the same electric motor can be used in either type of vehicle, but there are additional benefits to FCEVs:
• Same benefits as BEVs: quiet operation, zero emissions
• High quality, reliable power
• Durable and rugged
• Refueling time of less than 5 minutes @ 350 to 700 bar
• Driving range comparable to that of a gasoline-powered vehicle (RONN vehicles will have an estimated range of 600+ miles with the hydrogen fuel-cell range extender)
• Ability to be sourced from fossil fuels, such as natural gas or propane, or renewable fuels including anaerobic digester gas and landfill gas. Hydrogen can also be produced by water electrolysis, which can be powered by electricity from renewables such as solar or wind power or from nuclear energy and the grid. RONN Motor Group, Inc. will produce hydrogen by water electrolysis using all renewable solar or wind power
7. How does hydrogen fuel-cell technology work?
RONN Motor Group uses Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel-Cells (PEMFC), which utilize hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity. Fuel-cells do not need to be periodically recharged like batteries, but instead continue to produce electricity as long as a hydrogen fuel source is provided. Due to their high efficiency, fuel-cells are very clean, with their only by-products being electricity, heat and water. In addition, as fuel-cells do not have any moving parts, they operate in near silence. Scientifically speaking, compressed hydrogen is stored in the vehicle via ultra-safe carbon fiber tanks. Hydrogen is fed into a “stack” of fuel-cells, consisting of an anode (-) and cathode (+) separated by an electrolyte and exposed to atmospheric oxygen. The anode causes the release of hydrogen electrons that travel towards the positive cathode to create an electric current. Hydrogen ions, missing an electron, are directed to the cathode via an alternate route where they regain electrons, combining with oxygen to become water molecules. PEMFCs use a polymer membrane as an electrolyte and a precious metal, typically platinum, as a catalyst. What distinguishes these fuel-cells from others is the PEMFC’s ability to operate at cooler temperatures relative to other types of fuel-cells, between 80 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Pure hydrogen gas is the typical fuel for PEMFCs due to their use of precious metals and lower operating temperatures. They are capable of handling large and sudden shifts in power output, making them well-suited for cars and other specialty vehicles such as forklifts that need to quickly start up or accelerate. Additionally, PEMFC’s can be scaled in stationary applications for use in telecommunications, data centers and residential markets.
8. How are fuel-cells currently used?
At the state and local level, fuel-cells are helping meet environmental goals, boosting reliability and resiliency to ensure constant power while saving taxpayer dollars and industry investment. This includes primary and backup power to:
• Fuel-Cell Vehicles (FCVs) – typically replicate today’s driving experience: range of approximately 300 miles per hydrogen fueling, refuel at a pump in 3-5 minutes
• Material Handling Equipment (MHE) – fuel-cell provides constant power, without lag, over an entire shift, reliable operation in refrigerated environments, can refuel in minutes
• Airports (baggage tow tractors, nose wheels)
• Ports (MHE)
• Fleet Vehicles
Commercial Stationary Uses
• Fuel-cell units have flexible siting; can be placed in various locations indoors/outdoors
• Lightweight as a fuel-cell unit can sit on top of roof
• Modular/Scalable to meet any need, ranging from a few watts to multi-megawatt systems (UOM)
• Able to provide primary, supplemental or backup power
• Can be grid-tied or can operate independently from the grid
• Compatible with solar, wind, batteries and other renewable/conventional technologies
• Can be used with, or instead of, fossil fuel generators
• Requires less space than solar photovoltaics
• Operates in water balance/uses very little water in operation
• Government offices, jails, fire and police stations
• Wastewater treatment plants
• Communications and emergency networks
• Schools and hospitals
• Zoos, parks and gardens
Private Stationary Uses
• Facilities, such as retail stores, corporate headquarters, data centers, hotels, apartment buildings
• Cell phone towers
• Railroad signals
• Electric grid substations, providing multi-megawatts of power to local users
• Off-grid equipment for security, energy exploration, recreation
9. What other companies are using hydrogen fuel-cell technology?
Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, just to name a few, are all incorporating hydrogen fuel-cell technology as more and more countries (China, India, France, Norway) are mandating the partial or complete elimination of new fossil fuel vehicle sales as early as 2019. Wal-Mart and Amazon have also announced that they will be utilizing hydrogen technology to power their forklifts. In the U.S., states such as California along with Shell Oil, Co. are actively participating in the development of the hydrogen refueling station infrastructure to aggressively pave the way for hydrogen fuel-cell technology in the United States.
10. Where is the U.S. in terms of hydrogen technology?
The fuel-cell footprint is growing in the U.S. on a variety of levels. The industry consists of companies large and small, located in states across the country, representing the entire spectrum from components to systems to integrators and end users. Installations and deployments are increasing every year, in number and in megawatts (MW). Cities are adopting fuel-cells to power essential services when the grid goes down. Railroad and telecom companies use fuel-cells to power communication towers and signaling infrastructure. Major corporations are not only installing hundreds of fuel-cell systems to power retail sites, data centers and other facilities, they are also deploying fuel-cell powered forklifts in warehouses and distribution centers across the country. Fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) are available for purchase or lease in California, and fuel-cell buses are in operation in several states. It is the support and investment by state governments that have propelled the use of fuel-cell and hydrogen technologies in certain parts of the country.
“As we celebrate our third annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, the hydrogen and fuel-cell future we worked for is making its mark today, with dynamic and growing markets across the industry,” said Morry Markowitz, President of the Fuel-Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA). “This progress is a tribute to the companies, organizations and individuals who pioneered these technologies and made hydrogen and fuel-cells an important part of the nation’s, and the world’s, energy mix.”
As a world leader in hydrogen-assisted technology, RONN Motor Group is joining the race to reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas effects by creating sustainable energy that will take us into tomorrow. Learn how you can address this global need and get in on the ground floor of the next generation of hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Go to ronnmotorgroup.com to invest in RONN Motor Group today.
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