While this process is becoming more efficient, electric air heaters are currently still necessary to support this heat recovery mechanism. While not fully self–sustaining, this minimizes the energy required to keep up the process.
One of the main uses of air heaters to achieve carbon neutrality is through supporting electrolysis. The heat is used in the electrolysis of water. This process separates hydrogen gas and oxygen.
Pure hydrogen gas can be used as an alternative fuel, capable of fuelling zero–emission FCEVs (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles). Pure hydrogen fuel cells are highly efficient, offer fast filling times, and are a clean energy. This is one potential replacement for traditional, emission–heavy fuels.
The process of electrolysis through electric air heaters is more efficient and less damaging to the environment. A lot of electricity can be produced with little energy, and there are fewer by–products, like CO2 and NOx, created.
Hydrogen fuel cells produced with electric air heaters not only create an alternative energy source but also a way to store energy. SOECs offer an alternative to reliance on batteries.
Batteries are an important piece of many carbon neutral plans, such as the Tesla battery revolutionizing the HVAC industry with the Model Y heat pump. While batteries remain important, relying on one technology alone may just be trading one problem for another. Materials, such as lithium, used in high–quality batteries are in finite supply and require significant resources and potentially harmful mining processes to extract.
Hydrogen fuel cells offer an alternative to batteries, with powerful energy storage capabilities. This allows for less reliance on a single resource or on creating new environmental challenges. A greater variety of alternative energies is necessary for improving stability.
Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cells require enough operational heat to allow high–temperature electrolysis. This usually occurs between 500°C and 850°C, creating similar conditions to those found in a solid oxide fuel cell. To achieve this, electric flanged heaters can support the SOEC process. Flanged heaters are extremely efficient heaters capable of achieving high temperature quickly through direct immersion. Electric air heaters can provide support through indirect heating.