Hydrogen Uses Today

How we are trying to make a better tomorrow

Hydrogen has been in use for over two centuries but the use of oil and coal has left behind development of these technologies designed around releasing the power from water or using the power of hydrogen. However now the worm has turned and there are many applications using hydrogen available right now. Click below for more details!

History of Hydrogen Use            Cars            Buses            Aircraft

Trucks            Forklifts            Standby Power            Emergency Support

History of Hydrogen Use

Below are a few historic moments in the history of hydrogens development as a fuel source

Since these breakthroughs there have been lots of opportunities for people to develop uses for hydrogen in day to day life. These include ways of using it as a fuel for transport and the supply of power in permanent and temporary situations.


Various manufacturers are making Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars but Honda is leading the way with commercialisation of them. As you can read below there are hundreds of cars leased in Japan and California running on hydrogen; Honda has even developed a totally clean energy home hydrogen refuelling station. BMW have targeted the luxury end of the market with their 7 series hydro car.

Honda has developed a hydrogen re-filling station for the home - and it’s solar-powered.

If Honda has its way, your home will soon be transformed into a service station.

Honda has developed a next-generation solar-powered hydrogen fuelling station in the US that can be installed in your home - effectively removing the need for regular retail refilling stations.

The prototype is designed to refill a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in an eight-hour overnight cycle. It produces half a kilo of hydrogen in that time, which is enough to replenish the supply sufficiently for the average everyday commute.

One of the biggest benefits of Honda’s new system is that it doesn’t require the costly and bulky compressor of the previous solar hydrogen refilling station. The compressor with a high differential pressure electrolyser.

The new system can also pump energy back into the grid, allowing the owner to “sell” unused electricity to an energy supplier.

Honda says that the key to getting hydrogen stations into people’s homes is to make it convenient, clean and energy efficient - the 48-panel solar powered system runs on off-peak energy and Honda says it wants to push the use of fuel cell vehicles forward.

“The combination of fuel cell electric vehicles and solar hydrogen stations could lead to the establishment of a hydrogen society based on renewable energy, resulting in a major reduction of CO2 emissions and greater energy sustainability.”

According to Honda, it’s all part of the plan to make hydrogen - in particular, the company’s FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle - a mainstream option for the future.

“With fast fill public stations providing 5-minute fuelling time for longer trips, and the opportunity of convenient night-time slow filling at home... the Honda FCX Clarity can cover a wide range of driving demands from the daily commute to weekend trips.”

The Honda FCX Clarity is currently only available in America and Japan as a lease vehicle, though it has been reported that Honda plans to offer affordable hydrogen cars to the mass market within ten years.


The BMW Hydrogen 7 is the world’s first production-ready hydrogen vehicle. It’s already proving itself in the real world too: we’re putting 100 of them to the test as loan cars for leading figures from the worlds of culture, politics, business and the media, including Oscar-winning film director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Erich Sixt, chairman of Rental car company Sixt AG.

Real-world experience shows that switching to hydrogen can go hand in hand with the comfort, dynamics and safety you’d expect from a BMW.

For more info on Hydrogen Cars go to http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/hydrogen-powered-cars.htm


The Western Australian Department for Planning and Infrastructure, in collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and BP Australia, are trialing the operation of three hydrogen fuel cell buses. The Perth trial forms part of the NEFLEET Project where DaimlerChrysler will trial 33 hydrogen fuel cell buses worldwide (10 European cities and Perth). As well as looking at the environmental benefits and issues of using hydrogen fuel cell technology, the trial will assess:
  • operational issues including vehicle handling and safety, life cycle pollutant and greenhouse emissions, vehicle maintenance requirements;
  • hydrogen production (through partnership with BP) infrastructure and use;
  • life cycle financial assessment of the introduction of fuel cell technology; and

The trial is set up Western Australia as a leader in the developing ‘hydrogen economy’ reducing the time lag usually associated with the introduction of new technologies. An assessment of the issues arising from the trial will allow Australia to better address the regulatory and infrastructure barriers to introducing new vehicle technology. The WA Government is the major sponsor of the trial (with funding of more than $8 million). DaimlerChrysler and BP are also supporting the trial.

For more information on the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Trial in Western Australia go to: http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/fuelcells/index.html


Since 1960 NASA has used fuel cells and hydrogen in their space program, and other companies are developing airplanes for commercial flights using hydrogen, but the big manufacturers say this is 40 years from reality. However one small manufacturer in South Africa has created a light aircraft running on hydrogen and fuel cells.

FlyH2 Aerospace CC is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Commercial airliners typically emit over a ton of carbon dioxide per passenger on long-haul flights. We have solved this problem by designing a complete electrically driven 2 seat aircraft. The aircraft is driven by a 75kW brushless electric motor and energized by a combination of high energy-density batteries and a hydrogen fuel cell system. Hydrogen-based electric drive systems offers several advantages over typical ICE (internal combustion engine) based systems. During flight, hydrogen is bonded with oxygen to produce water and electricity. The electricity is used to drive a silent electric motor and propeller. The only exhaust is a small amount of water vapour. The drive system has only one moving part, the prop-shaft, offering low maintenance benefits, high reliability and longer engine life.

for more details go to http://www.flyh2.com/


Companies in the trucking industry are using Hydrogen to increase the efficiency of their fleets in various ways. Vision Industries in California in 2011 signed an order to deliver 100 trucks for a US company running completely on hydrogen. See link for more details:


In the UK Smith Electric Vehicles, based in Tyne and Wear in the UK, is working with a German fuel cell company Proton Power Systems to install hydrogen fuel cell range extenders on the Smith Edison and Smith Newton electric big trucks. The fuel cells have already undergone limited testing in the smaller Edison vans and have been shown to nearly double its range. A new testing prototype of the Newton is on its way. For more details: http://www.smithelectricvehicles.com/index.asp.htm


There are many companies who see the advantage of using fuel cells and hydrogen as a mechanism to power machinery that needs to be moveable but is used inside so need pollution free power. This traditionally has been the domain of high power storage batteries, but these need to be recharged regularly and batteries need replacing. Welcome to the new age of Hydrogen powered Forklifts.

There are various companies in this space but PlugPower are the leaders. They have various large retailers using their forklifts for warehouse stacking and goods moving. For more details: http://www.plugpower.com

Below are a few large US Companies and reasons why their executives chose to swap to Hydrogen:

Central Grocers - Chicago based company purchased 140 hydrogen fuel cell forklifts which now handle all of their goods. If that weren’t enough, they are purchasing 80 more this year and, of course, cutting carbon emissions along the way.

Coca-Cola - The second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the US is using hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts

Walmart - estimate they will save $2 million over seven years and reduce green house gas emission by 530 tons each year by utilizing hydrogen fuel cell technology

Nestle Waters - they compared hydrogen fuel cells to other technologies to find that, once again, hydrogen fuel cells have lower operating costs and increase worker productivity

For more details on Hydrogen based forklifts go to http://www.h2andyou.org/caseStudies_forklifts2.asp

Standby/Back Up Power

With all the data centres and mission critical applications we have in the world these days and the increasing strains on the power grids causing power fluctuations and even blackouts there is more and more demand for enviromentally clean and reliable power back up sources. Fuel cells are perfect for this they are always ready and have minimal “time wear” and provide a smooth power output when required. The hydrogen storage options are improving annually so the size of these UPS systems can become smaller. One of the leaders in this area is UTC Power and their systems are used by companies such as Google for power back up. See this link for more details http://www.utcpower.com/products/purecell400

Emergency Support Powered by Hydrogen

When you have an emergency, the reliability of your equipment is paramount. Typically, critical events that require mobile electricity, such as disaster relief, have not been the time or place to use new technologies. But these events have given rise to private companies realising that superior technologies exist-technologies that do not require grid power or rely on gasoline, can be quickly fuelled, and are both are pollution-free and quiet so they can be used indoors. Generators powered by hydrogen can do what standard gasoline generators so - and can do it quietly, more reliably and with no pollution or fumes. There are devices available now to not just provide remote power but pocket sized devices that can charge small devices such as phones. See our products page for more details www.hnrge.com.au/products

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