Introduction to Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies and Their Contribution to a Sustainable Energy Future

  • Deborah J. JonesEmail author
Part of the Integrated Science & Technology Program book series (ISTP, volume 2)


Research and development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are motivated by the same drivers as for other new energy production/conversion/storage options, in particular the increase in greenhouse gas emissions and in sea and land mass temperatures, and peaking of oil production capacity and the technical difficulties and safety issues associated with extracting oil from offshore deep drilling below the seabed, which together lead towards a global requirement for use of lower fossil carbon energy sources. In this context, this chapter outlines actual and potential roles for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. It provides a short historical perspective of fuel cells and describes fuel cell types and their applications, in particular automotive and stationary fuel cell uses. Directions in fuel cell materials research on electrocatalysts and their supports and electrolyte membranes are described in a final section.


Electrolysis Energy conversion Fuel cell Hydrogen 

List of Acronyms


Alkaline fuel cell


Carbon monoxide


Carbon dioxide


Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Centre)


Symbol of electron


European Union


European Council for Automotive R&D


Fuel cell hydrogen vehicle


Fuel cell vehicle


Iron, nitrogen, carbon catalyst


Proton (hydrogen nucleus)


Hydrogen molecule


Highly oriented pyrolytic graphite

Hyfleet CUTE

This is a European project comparing the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) buses with fuel cell buses. CUTE stands for Clean Urban Transport for Europe and the goal of the project is to test and demonstrate hydrogen buses in 10 different cities in Europe, Asia, and Australia to reduce CO2 emissions and move away from fossil fuels.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy.


Kilowatt (SI power unit)


Million barrels per day


Molten carbonate fuel cell


Membrane electrode assembly


Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries


Phosphoric acid fuel cell


Proton ceramic fuel cell


Polymer electrolyte membrane


Proton exchange membrane fuel cells, also known as polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC)


Perfluorosulfonic acid


Alloy of platinium with a metal (M)


Symbol of platinum


Promoting Unst Renewable Energy (Unst is one of the North Isles of the Shetland Islands, Scotland)


Système International d’unités (International System of units)


Solid oxide fuel cell


Worldwide hydrogen fueling stations



The author thanks Surya Subianto for his assistance with the graphics of this chapter. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2010-2013) under the call ENERGY-2010-10.2-1: Future Emerging Technologies for Energy Applications (FET) under contract 256821 QuasiDry.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier, UMR CNRS 5253Université Montpellier 2Montpellier, Cedex 5France

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