Strategic Energy Technologies Information System

European Initiative on Smart Cities

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen: Technology Information Sheet


Hydrogen (H2) is an energy carrier that can store and deliver energy in widely useable forms. When hydrogen is produced from non-fossil energy sources or using CO2 sequestration, there are no greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen can be used as fuel in gas turbines, combustion engines or in fuel cell systems, combining with oxygen to produce electricity and water. Fuel cells can provide power from a range of other fuels, besides hydrogen, including natural gas and biogas. Because there are no moving parts, fuel cells are quiet, with potentially low/reduced maintenance and are considered to be the most efficient means of converting a fuel into useful power. They can be used for small or large-scale power applications, including generating electricity for industry, providing back-up or auxiliary power, providing uninterruptible power supply, powering vehicles and forklift trucks, as well as for portable applications, such as laptops, toys and cell phones.