In a turnaround from 2009, when Energy Secretary Stephen Chu slashed the Federal Hydrogen budget by 60-percent, he now states his views of fuel cells are evolving. One of the critical pieces of Chu choosing hydrogen fuel cells is the abundance of natural gas.
Most hydrogen produced today is for oil refineries and is made from natural gas. Besides the abundance of homegrown natural gas, Dr. Chu also states the efficiency of fuel cells and the fact that a hydrogen car can be refueled in less than 5 minutes which gives them a big advantage over electric cars as major points to consider.
Dr. Chu also talks about the trigeneration concept, “Trigeneration is a unique benefit to fuel cells that produces pure hydrogen, pure carbon dioxide; and increases fuel efficiency by harnessing the electricity and heat produced. Other current energy technologies primarily cannot utilize the heat energy. He explained that the technology allows for natural gas to burn in ‘a little starved’ partial oxygen atmosphere which results in a pure stream of hydrogen, a pure stream of carbon dioxide and subsequently produces energy.”
In order to get a glimpse in the change of heart from the Energy Secretary, watch this video. The first one to four minutes are the most important to watch.