Which Is Better, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Or Lithium Battery?

- Dec 12, 2019-

Who is the future development direction of hydrogen fuel cells and solid-state lithium batteries?


As a clean, efficient, safe, and sustainable new energy source, hydrogen energy is regarded as the clean energy with the greatest development potential in the 21st century, and it is the strategic energy development direction of mankind. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have many characteristics such as pollution-free, low energy consumption, long endurance, wide application area, etc., and have now entered the stage of small-scale commercialization and promotion. The industry believes that in the next three to five years, that is, around 2020, the hydrogen industry will enter an explosive period. Compared with solid-state lithium batteries, the biggest advantage of fuel cells is the high energy density, which is 120 times that of lithium batteries.


1. Fuel cell vs. solid-state lithium battery cost comparison


The main obstacles to the development of fuel cells are high costs and complex hydrogen production processes. The entire hydrogenation and hydrogen supply network needs to be built from scratch. Hydrogen is obtained by electrolysis or steam reforming. However, these two methods are quite costly. The cost of producing natural gas of the same quality is 1/2 or even 1/3 of that of hydrogen production.


The production cost of solid-state lithium battery is relatively low. In addition, it is very convenient for repeated charging and utilization. Compared with other portable energy sources, it is more cost-effective.


2.Fuel cell vs lithium battery performance comparison


Although countries are vigorously promoting electric vehicles, their proportion is still very low. The root cause lies in the fact that electric vehicles violate the transformation logic of increasing energy density. Even the latest generation of lithium-ion battery cars, the extreme value of energy density is only 1/40 of gasoline. The emergence of fuel cells has completely changed this situation. Its energy density is three times that of gasoline, and the electric motor's work efficiency is twice that of internal combustion engines. The actual density is six times that of gasoline, which has obvious advantages.


Which is better, a hydrogen fuel cell or a lithium battery?


At present, the development of lithium batteries has entered the right track. Both Europe, the United States, Korea, Japan, and China have begun industrialization. The development of fuel cells is still in the initial stage, but there are still many "pain points" about cost, safety, and so on. Long time to solve. Hydrogen fuel cells are currently being questioned. The main factors are: safety, high cost, and his advantages are environmental protection and a wide range of fuels.


From an industrial point of view, the industrialization of solid-state lithium batteries has been completed, which can further promote the formation of mesh development in other industries. In view of the scale of investment that countries around the world have already made in lithium batteries, hydrogen fuel cells have been difficult to become the mainstream direction for at least a decade. The greater possibility is to serve as a technical complement to lithium batteries.


At present, lithium batteries and fuel cells are the mainstream technologies that are expected to replace petroleum vehicles. Both have advantages and have great room for improvement. If lithium batteries can increase their energy density and optimize cycle life, they will be more competitive; the core technology of hydrogen fuel cells, the huge cost of building vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations, and safety issues will still be a huge bottleneck for industrial development. From the perspective of environmental protection and sustainable development, hydrogen fuel cells have more development prospects than lithium batteries, but from the perspective of short-term economic benefits, the development of lithium batteries is more market competitive than hydrogen fuel cells.