Fuel cells for energy storage

I’ve long been skeptical about the prospects of hydrogen fuel cell cars. There are so many issues, not just economics based, but also related to fueling infrastructure. But I’m beginning to wonder if the fuel cell could find a home in quick, on demand storage. Japanese startup Aquafairy says its fuel cell storage devices will be on sale as soon as next year. It’s technological innovation is a solid form of hydrogen fuel that makes the volatile fuel safer to handle.

Aquafairy is looking at three potential apps of the technological:

1) A 2.5 watt smartphone charger.

2) A 200 watt, 7 kilogram storage device for disaster preparation. Probably very marketable in Japan post-Fukushima.

3) A long-life device for mountainous areas providing just a half watt but which doesn’t need replacing for up to six months.

The theme here? Storage. Which makes me wonder whether we might pair a fuel cell with a solar module to provide homeowner greater grid independence for the evening times, particularly if we’re talking natural gas based fuel cell.

Fuel cell tech keeps chugging along. The question, as always, is making it cost effective and finding an application for the tech.