Using hydrogen as a portable power supply in disasters

Natural disasters have been occurring frequently in recent years. We must be prepared for the inevitability of disasters that are impossible to predict perfectly and can cause enormous damage. Here we explain portable hydrogen fuel cells that are attracting attention as a means of preparation against disasters.

Miracle planet riddled with natural disasters

From time to time, the Earth is described as a “miracle planet.” In the wide expanse of the universe, this planet is the only one that harbors abundant nature and life through a miraculous balance that continues to the present day. But even this miracle planet is not all perfect. As long as we live on the Earth, we cannot escape from its natural disasters. Right now, some natural disaster is happening somewhere on the Earth regardless of whether you can feel it or not.

Disasters are unpredictable and can cause damage beyond human understanding once in a while. Regardless of a country’s culture or economy, disasters occur according to the region and climate. Whether they be hurricanes in the USA, floods and earthquakes in Japan, or bushfires in Australia.

The occurrence of disasters due to climate change is a growing problem and how to respond to disasters is just as important as their cause. Under these circumstances, portable power supplies have been attracting attention in recent years as a means of preparing for frequent natural disasters.

Current situation with portable power supplies

A portable power supply is, as the name implies, a power supply that can be carried around. It can be used as a power source when a disaster occurs and the commercial power supply is damaged, or at evacuation sites where power is not available or inadequate. A portable power supply has a wide range of uses for camping and outdoor sports, as well as in times of disaster.

Several types of portable power supplies are available. These include power supplies that are charged in advance, power supplies with a small solar panel that can be used while charging outdoors, and hydrogen fuel cells (FC).
Portable fuel cells, in particular, are attracting attention both from the viewpoint of business continuity planning (BCP) and due to their potential as a new power source.

Potential of portable fuel cells, not just as disaster countermeasures

One of the features of the portable fuel cells is that they are extremely environmentally friendly. Since energy is generated by the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, only water vapor is emitted. They are expected to provide a new solution to environmental and energy problems. They also offer high energy efficiency because the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen is directly converted into energy.

Furthermore, as hydrogen provides more energy per volume than lithium-ion batteries, the main body of the device can be made lighter. Some lighter models weigh only 10 to 20 kg and their range of applications is growing accordingly.

It is too late to take measures against a natural disaster after it has occurred. We must work on the assumption that natural disasters will inevitably occur at some point. This is the social responsibility of companies and local governments. Maybe we need to make preparations and run simulations based around portable hydrogen fuel cells?