Special Issue "Hydrogen Economy Technologies"

A special issue of Clean Technologies (ISSN 2571-8797).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Damien Guilbert
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Université de Lorraine, GREEN, F-54000 Nancy, France
Interests: power electronics; modeling, emulation and control of proton exchange membrane electrolyzers; energy management of multi-source systems based on renewable energy sources (wind, photovoltaic) and hydrogen technologies (fuel cell, electrolyzer)
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Gianpaolo Vitale
Guest Editor
National Research Council (CNR), Institute of High Performance and Networking (ICAR), Palermo, Italy
Interests: power electronics; renewable energy sources; electromagnetic compatibility; electric vehicles; storage systems; artificial intelligence applications
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the use of hydrogen as a fuel supply for transportation, heating, and seasonal energy storage for a future decarbonized energy system has gained growing interest from researchers and industry.

As opposed to hydrogen produced by electrolyzers in which electricity is based on coal, which is often termed “black” hydrogen, hydrogen obtained by electricity from renewable energy sources is opening new perspectives as a clean energy carrier. It can be utilized in fuel cells and vehicles by suitable power handling systems. For electrolyzer and fuel cell applications, DC/DC converters must meet several challenging issues, such as energy efficiency, low or high conversion ratios, and current ripple reduction. Furthermore, the availability and reliability of power converters remain major concerns so that multi-source systems based on RES and hydrogen technologies can guarantee a high-level of autonomy in case of electrical failures.

Electric vehicles can use hydrogen to supply fuel cells, which increase their autonomy compared to battery powered vehicles. Alternatively, hydrogen can be exploited directly by internal combustion engines. In any case, some challenges related to storage, transportation, and safety have to be addressed. The advantage of fuel storage can be obtained by increasing the pressure of hydrogen gas, but this requires suitable tanks. Transportation infrastructure could be optimized by producing hydrogen locally, but suitably designed filling stations are needed. Finally, appropriate safety measures are required to keep hydrogen hazards to a minimum. Only by improving technologies will hydrogen be introduced as a safe and sustainable energy carrier.

This Special Issue aims at attracting original high-quality papers and review articles focused on technologies related to the production, use, and storage of hydrogen.

Prospective authors may submit contributions dealing with, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Power converter topologies for electrolyzers and fuel cells;
  • Fault-tolerant topologies and controls for fuel cells and electrolyzers;
  • Impacts of power electronics systems on fuel cell and electrolyzer operating behavior;
  • Control of power converter topologies;
  • Reliability of hydrogen production plants;
  • New solutions for storage and transportation;
  • Integration with different energy storage systems;
  • Impacts of hydrogen on economy and life-style;
  • Life cycle assessment from cradle to grave;
  • Knowledge transfer from research to education and training;
  • Knowledge dissemination for public acceptance of a hydrogen economy;
  • Near and long term strategies.

Dr. Damien Guilbert
Prof. Dr. Gianpaolo Vitale
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Clean Technologies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • fuel cell
  • electrolyzer
  • power electronics
  • hydrogen economy
  • reliability
  • storage
  • transportation
  • electric vehicles
  • life cycle assessment
  • hydrogen integration

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Life Cycle Assessment of different powertrain architectures for fuel cell electric vehicles
Authors:Silvia Colnago 1, Luigi Piegari 1, Saverio Latorrata 2, Giovanni Dotelli 2
Affiliation: 1 Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering (DEIB), Politecnico di Milano, Italy;
2 Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “G.Natta” (DCMC), Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Abstract: In a recent study commissioned by Directorate-General for Climate Policy (EU) the environmental impacts of conventional and alternatively fuelled vehicles were deeply investigated through life cycle assessment (LCA); in particular, fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) running on hydrogen  were included and compared, among others, to battery electric vehicles (BEV) and internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV) over scenarios up to 2050. The FCEVs performed quite well and were competing with BEVs in the 2050 scenario. As expected, the hydrogen production supply chain contributed for a large share to the FCEVs impacts. However, few details about the vehicle powertrain and the balance of system were given.
FCEVs are usually equipped with batteries to support the fuel cell during peak power requests and to allow regenerative breaking. As a consequence, FCEVs can be realized with different powertrain architectures based on power converter used to interface the sources (i.e. fuel cell and battery) with the traction drive. In the present work we compare the environmental impacts of three different powertrain architectures of FCEVs mounted on a passenger car through the LCA in a cradle-to-grave scenario, then including not only components production but also hydrogen production, vehicle use phase and powertrain system end-of-life. The three architectures differ for the number and position of dc/dc converters used to connect battery and fuel cell to the dc bus. To perform the comparison, powertrain components of the three vehicles have been properly sized, a model has been built in Simulink and the worldwide harmonized light vehicle test procedure cycle has been used as a reference cycle for the simulations to assess efficiency and performance, in particular hydrogen consumption.
The LCA is carried out in compliance with the international standards ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006 and the European standard EN 50693:2019 regulating the product category rules for life cycle assessments of electronic and electrical products and systems. The impacts are evaluated through impact assessment methods suggested by the EU. For the relevance in the sector it will be also included the primary energy consumption, split in renewable and non-renewable. The perspective adopted for the LCA is attributional and a sensitivity analysis with respect to hydrogen supply chain and driving cycles will be included in the study.


Title: Kalman Filter-Based Real-Time Optimization of the Fuel Efficiency of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Authors: Andreas Rauh
Affiliation: ENSTA Bretagne, Department STIC, Group ROB, 29806 Brest, France 
Abstract: The electric power characteristic of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) depends on numerous influence factors such as the mass flow of supplied hydrogen, the temperature distribution in the interior of the fuel cell stack, the temperatures of the supplied reaction media at the anode and cathode, and - essentially - the electric current. Describing all of these dependencies by means of analytic system models is almost impossible. Therefore, it is reasonable to identify these dependencies by means of stochastic filter techniques. One possible option is the use of Kalman filters to find locally valid approximations of the power characteristics which can then be employed for numerous real-time purposes of dynamically operated fuel cells such as maximum power point tracking or the maximization of the fuel efficiency while simultaneously ensuring a fuel cell operation in the regime of Ohmic polarization. The latter aspect is especially crucial to avoid fuel starvation phenomena which may not only lead to an inefficient system operation but also to accelerated degradation. In this paper, a Kalman filter-based real-time optimization of the fuel efficiency for SOFCs is proposed which accounts for the aforementioned feasibility constraints. Simulation results are presented which show the robustness of the proposed technique against inaccuracies in the a-priori knowledge about the power characteristics. For the numerical validation, three different models of the electric power characteristic are considered: (i) a static neural network input/output model, (ii) a first-order dynamic system representation and (iii) the combination of a static neural network model with a low-order fractional differential equation model representing transient phases during transitions between different electric operating points.


Title: Hydrogen is Promising for Energy and Medical Applications
Authors: Shin-ichi Hirano 1, Yusuke Ichikawa 1, Bunpei Sato 1, Fumitake Satoh 1, Yoshiyasu Takefuji 2,*
Affiliation: 1 Department of Research and Development, MiZ Company Limited, 2-19-15 Ofuna, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0056, Japan; 2 Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University, 5322 Endo, Fujisawa 252-0882, Japan.
Abstract: Hydrogen (H2) is promising as an energy source for the next generation. Medical applications using H2 gas can be also considered as a clean and economical technology. Since the H2 gas produced by electrolysis of water has potential to explode, the technology has been developed in order to safely dilute it and to supply it to living body by inhalation respectively. H2 is an inert molecule which can scavenge the highly active oxidants, such as hydroxyl radical (·OH) and peroxynitrite (ONOO-), and which can convert them into water. H2 is clean and causes no adverse effects in the body. The mechanism of H2 is different from that of traditional drugs because it works on the root of many diseases. Since H2 has extensive and various effects, it may be called "wide spectrum molecule" on diseases. In this review, we surveyed the current medical applications of H2 including its initiation and development, and we also proposed its prospective medical applications. Due to its great efficacy and lack of adverse effects, H2 will be a next generation therapy candidate for medical applications.


Title: Multiphysics Design of Pet-Coke Burner and Hydrogen Production by Applying Methane Steam Reforming System
Authors: Alon Davidy


Title: Environmental benefits of extending the service life of PEM fuel cells for automotive applications
Authors: Saverio Latorrata 1, Alessandro Arrigoni Marocco 2, Andrea Basso Peressut 1, Giovanni Dotelli 1
Affiliation: 1 Politecnico di Milano, Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta”, piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milan, Italy;
2 European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Westerduinweg 3, 1755LE, Petten, The Netherlands
Abstract: A larger adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) is considered a key strategy to decarbonize the transport sector. Comparisons of the greenhouse gases emitted throughout the life cycle (i.e., life cycle assessments) show that FCVs can reduce the potential global warming of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) by more than one fourth. The main reduction is obtained during the use phase of the vehicle, due to the use of hydrogen instead of fossil fuels as energy source. However, a life-cycle parameter that is often overlooked in the sustainability assessments is durability. The performance of fuel cells is typically assumed to be constant throughout the use phase of the vehicle (e.g., power efficiency around 60%, corresponding to an average hydrogen consumption of 0.85 kg per 100 km for a service life of 150,000 km). However, a recent investigation in real-world settings showed that the performance of fuel cells drops on average by 10% after 100,000 km. In this study, we investigate how a drop in the fuel cell performance might affect the global warming potential of the vehicle. Moreover, we investigate the consequences of replacing polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) with fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) in the gas diffusion layer of the fuel cell. Laboratory experiments showed that the overall degradation rate could be reduced by about 30%, extending the durability of the fuel cell. If implemented in FCVs, the use of FEP would potentially reduce the hydrogen consumption during the use phase of the vehicles and further reduce their global warming potential with respect to traditional vehicles.

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