Fuel Cell

Description

  • The operation of a fuel cell is one which converts a fuel into electricity
  • This is achieved through a chemaical reaction of positively charged hydrogen ions and an oxidizing agent
  • All fuel cells have an anode, cathode, and an electrolyte, which creates a path for the hydrogen ions to move between the two sides but not the electrons
  • The catalysts within the anode and cathode cause the fuel to oxidize generating positively charged hydrogen ions and electrons
  • The anode and cathode are connected through an external circuit, which allows the electron flow creating direct current electricity 
  • The hyrogen ions, electrons, and oxygen react at the cathode and create water as a byproduct
  • There are many types of fuel cells including:
    • Alkaline fuel cells (AFC)
    • Molten carbonate (MCFC)
    • Proton exchange membrane (PEM)
    • Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC)
    • Phosphoric acid (PAFC)
    • and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) 

Green Energy

  • Fuel cells produce electricity via a catalytic reaction, there is no combustion 
  • Fuel cells burn no fossil fuels, and water is the only substantial byproduct
  • The efficiency achieved by these sytems is quite good at 40-60%, and can be even higher, near 85% if the waste heat is also captured

Benefits

  • Fuel cells work very well with other renewable energy sources as they can provide base load power
  • They do not have any moving parts and do not create any noise
  • Their fuel source could be water which is high abundant 
  • They can be run in reverse to store energy, produce hydrogen from its water byproduct