The UKs Climate Change Act (2008) has a target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050, with a closer target of 34% by 2020. Therefore, many initiatives and research has emerged to aid in reaching these targets. The UK energy sector has to migrate towards supplying innovative, high quality, high reliable, low or zero emission energy generation sources. Coupled with this are the performance demands required for these innovative solutions to match or better that of current power generation sources. Hydrogen and fuel cells have emerged as potential initiatives that could serve as alternative energy sources, with characteristics of being zero emission energy conversion and power generation devices. They are currently being engineered for a range of applications including stationary power, automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics. Each application presents its own set of requirement for the fuel cell system including performance, operating range and cost. With the introduction of a new technology into markets where existing products are highly reliable requires that this aspect of the system performance must match customer expectations which are demanding for a new product.
The future of hydrogen and fuel cell technology depends on being able to: (i) reduce current high capital cost, (ii) allow fuel flexibility, (iii) permit system integration with high efficiencies, (iv) have superior reliability and durability to provide power for long continuous periods of time, (v) address the fuel and human resource infrastructure challenge, and (vi) understand and adhere to the governmental rules and regulations regarding siting, insuring, and certifying fuel cell products.