Hybrid energy systems, which combine renewable energy and hydrogen storage, are an optimal solution for off-grid power supply and off-grid transport based on hydrogen. Electrical power can be turned into stored gas by transforming the energy from wind into hydrogen (or as a liquid to methanol via hydrogen).
Fuel cells convert the hydrogen to electricity at the moment we need it. There have been a number of great advances over the last few years. ‘Power to gas’ is a real distributed local solution with on-site storage of hydrogen which can be transported or made available, when needed, for use and as a back-up without being a burden on the grid. Hydrogen storage is also a solution to the problem of the need for batteries in the telecom base station market in those areas with an unreliable electricity supply; it even deals with the problem of diesel theft from remotely sited diesel generators (hydrogen is difficult to steal).
Everywhere around the globe, even in areas with a strong grid, mobile networks can be vital when a disaster strikes and power outages make other forms of communication difficult. Back-up power solutions based on fuel cell technology and renewable energy have advantages over conventional batteries and diesel generators. Fuel cells have, for example, a higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines, operate silently – important for urbanised areas – and eliminate greenhouse gases over the whole cycle.