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Hydrogen Fuel Cells

HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS

For people that are looking for ways to be more “green” but don’t want to give up driving their cars, the best alternative that is currently on the market is Hydrogen Fuel. The future of Fuel Cell technology has a growing trend in fueling cars and because it is an eco-friendly alternative, hydrogen fueling stations are on the rise and increased resources are being allocated for further research.

What are the benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

• Fuel Cells have a higher efficiency than diesel or gas engines
• Fuel Cells use 40 – 60% of the fuel’s energy
• Up to a 50% reduction in fuel consumption, compared to conventional vehicles
• Most Fuel Cells operate silently, compared to internal combustion engines
• Fuel Cells can eliminate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels
• For hydrogen fueled Fuel Cells, the only by-product at point of use is water

What is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell

A Fuel Cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. Fuel Cells are often compared to batteries as both convert the energy produced by a chemical reaction into usable electric power.

How do Fuel Cells Work

There are several kinds of Fuel Cells, and each operates a bit differently. But in general terms, hydrogen atoms enter a Fuel Cell at the anode where a chemical reaction strips them of their electrons. The hydrogen atoms are

 

 

 

 

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now “ionized,” and carry a positive electrical charge. The negatively charged electrons provide the current through wires to do work. If alternating current (AC) is needed, the DC output of the fuel cell must be routed through a conversion device called an inverter.

 

 

 

 

Oxygen enters the Fuel Cell at the cathode and, in some cell types, it there combines with electrons returning from the electrical circuit and hydrogen ions that have traveled through the electrolyte from the anode.  In other cell

 

 

 

 

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types the oxygen picks up electrons and then travels through the electrolyte to the anode, where it combines with hydrogen ions.

 

 

 

 

The electrolyte plays a key role.  It must permit only the appropriate ions to pass between the anode and cathode.  If free electrons or other substances could travel through the electrolyte, they would disrupt the chemical reaction.

Whether they combine at anode or cathode, together hydrogen and oxygen form water, which drains from the cell.  As long as a Fuel Cell is supplied with hydrogen and oxygen, it will generate electricity.

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