Right now, I know there are problems with the Hydrogen fuel cell systems and how you just can't turn them on and go. But I believe the current technology is there to use them as home backup power or off-grid power. I plan to have one in place as an off-grid solution. Also, I will try to have a reforming system to produce my own Hydrogen. Of course, I will still need other sources of power, and batteries.
Offered by Jon.
When energy is stored in a battery then converted back to electricity as needed, we have the problems of high
initial battery cost; short term life of batteries; and the increasing internal charging losses as batteries get older
and less effect. This is to say the whole process of using battery-inverters are not that effective when one looks at
the life cycle as a whole. If one could design a system that didn't use them we would all be much better off. We
know that with variable loads and variable wind speed we have a voltage regulation type of problem with the
current variable speed mechanical electrical generating process. This is currently solved by use of batteries and
inverters and controllers.
What if one designed water and wind powered generators to produce low voltage high DC current. The output could travel only a short distance into two electrodes into saltwater. The resultant electrolyzed oxygen and hydrogen gas would then be captured above each electrode and piped (example 3/8" or say 1/2" copper tubing with a air pump as an assist if needed) to arrive near ones survival quarters. A storage tank could be provided - either low pressure water displacement or medium to high pressure type. The hydrogen could be used to drive a modified piston engine and conventional generator mechanical speed governor setup. Several sizes of generators could be driven. Additional units could kick in (auto start) as more gas is available. The resulting byproduct would be water. In this way no batteries, and no inverters, are needed and voltage regulation has been taken care of.
In a conventional battery set up, transmission lines from where the power is generated to where the power is used both have significant cost and losses with resultant voltage regulation issues. Piping it in as gas over a transmission line may have about the same cost but has the advantage of no need to convert it to power until one needs it. No insulation is needed on copper tubing, with lower tech installation and maintenance. We need to keep our eyes open for such a designed system. The big question is if the conversion efficiency of water to hydrogen and oxygen and then back to water can be made more or about as efficiency as battery chemical storage. I think taking into account the long term cost of batteries the answer is highly likely it will work and be more efficient. I do think we need to find someone doing it and selling it. Keep your eyes open for this possibly. Also, we can encourage some company to take on the task of developing this.
Offered by Mike.