Fuel Cell

Fuel Cell:

  • Fuel Cell is a device which is used to convert the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity by using a chemical reaction with oxygen or other oxidizing agent.
  • Every fuel cell contains two electrodes, one positive (anode) and one negative (cathode).
  • Each fuel cell has an electrolyte that transports electrically charged particles from one electrode to other and a catalyst that speeds up the reactions at electrodes.

fuel cell

How Fuel Cell Works:

  • Fuel cell is an electrochemical device that generates electricity by the separation of fuel through a catalyst.
  • The protons flow via membrane combines with oxygen to form water, again with the help of the catalyst.
  • In order to create electricity the electrons flow from anode to cathode.
  • A single fuel cell is a piece of plastic between the couple of pieces of carbon plates which are positioned between the two ends which act as electrodes and these plates have channels that distributes oxygen and fuel.
  • Though hydrogen is the most common fuel utilised to power fuel cell, research is performed on new type of fuel cell that handles using methanol and oxygen.

Types of Fuel Cells:

The different types of fuel cells include Alkaline Fuel Cell, Direct Methanol Fuel Cell, Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell, Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell, and Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell.

Type of Fuel Cell Operating Temperature (˚C) Fuel Electrolyte
Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC) 40 to 200 Hydrogen KOH
Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) 60 to 130 Methanol Polymer
Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) 40 to 90 Hydrogen/ Carbondioxide Polymer
Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC) 200 Hydrogen/ Carbondioxide Phosphoric Acid
Solid Oxide Fuel Cell. (SOFC) 600 to 950 Methane, Hydrogen and carbon monoxide Solid Acid
Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell. (MCFC) 650 Methane, Hydrogen and carbon monoxide Molten Carbonate

Hydrogen Fuel Cells:

Hydrogen Fuel and air that has oxygen reacts when they come into make contact with an electrolyte that splits them. And this reaction results in the transmission of the electrons and ions across electrolyte from anode to cathode. If the external load is added to this and a complete circuit is created and the voltage is produced from the stream of electrical current.

Efficiency of Hydrogen Fuel Cell:

  • 40% efficiency produced, coverts methanol to hydrogen in reformer
  • 80% efficiency for motor, converts electrical to mechanical energy
  • Overall Efficiency- 24 to 32%
  • 80% of hydrogen energy content converted to the electrical energy

Hydrogen @ room temperature:

  • Lighter than air
  • Colourless
  • Easiest and most rich constituent
  • Odourless
  • More proficient than the current fuels utilised in the transportation
  • Additional energy per weight than that of any other energy mediums

Comparison of Auto Power Efficiency:

Technology System Efficiency
Gasoline Engine 20%
Fuel Cell 24 to 32%
Electric Battery 26%

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