Hydrogen has the potential to provide a reliable, secure and clean source of power. As an energy carrier, hydrogen can be produced from conventional fossil fuels, from biomass, and by electrolysis of water.
The biggest barrier to the hydrogen economy is the challenge of getting hydrogen economically to the point of use. This includes technological issues of hydrogen production, storage and transportation. Today hydrogen is primarily produced by reforming of fossil fuels, e.g. natural gas, in a centralized way and distributed to the locations of use as compressed gas.
In long-term visions, however, decentralized production of hydrogen by means of water electrolysers is favourable in several ways. When renewable energy sources (hydropower, windmills, solar cells, etc.) are considered, electrolysis is a practical way of converting the surplus electrical energy into chemical energy to be used when the power is needed.
However, the hydrogen based energy supply system, consisting of hydrogen production by sustainable energy, hydrogen storage, and fuel cells, needs to be made more efficient and reliable to be commercially competitive to the present energy supply system.
In particular, the water electrolysis process needs to be made more efficient, and the fuel cells further improved. This demands further development of the all the materials of which the electrolyser cells as well as the fuels cells are built.
The task of the WELTEMP consortium is to overcome some of these obstacles by developing a more efficient water electrolyser technology for the good of the environment and the climate changes ahead of us.
The WELTEMP project funded by the European Union is a collaborative project under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project involves partners from five European countries (Denmark, Norway, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Italy), and will be running from 1.1. 2008 to 31.12.2010.