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Fuel cell startups - too early?

Notes by Narsi

In climate tech, what is it you will hear a lot about, but see little of?

One is green hydrogen of course - the amount of talk you hear versus the amount that is actually used anywhere bears no resemblance

The other that belongs to that category is a close relative of hydrogen - fuel cells.

True, there are cars running on roads in fuel cells - but these are possibly in just thousands.

There are industries worldwide using fuel cells to provide electricity - but these are few and very far between.

More than a decade back, the US firm Bloom Energy (incidentally founded by an American India) bloomed out of its cocoon (stealth model) and the PR it generated would have easily led one to believe that fuel cells were just round the corner. The corner is likely there, but certainly was happening anytime soon.

Even in 2022, it appears that that the corner is some distance away. Firstly, if hydrogen is going to be the dominant fuel in these, we are gonna wait until H2 comes down from its high pedestal of $4-5/Kg to something more pedestrian. But even if this is worked out, for sectors such as transport, fuel cells will have to compete with batteries which will by that time be surely the "dominant standard" as that is the only standard available today to power an electric vehicle.

Fuel cells for other applications? I don't know enough to comment, but I at least don't remember reading much about these that gives me the confidence.

What do you think about the short and medium term (until 2030) potential for fuel cells?

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