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Power Electronics for Renewable Energy Systems

Hybrid renewable energy power systems are positioned to become the long-term power solution for portable, transportation and stationary system applications. Hybrid power systems are virtually limitless in possible setups and configurations to produce the desired power for a particular system. A hybrid system can consist of...

Carbon Nanotubes

There are many novel hydrogen methods that are currently being investigated that offer the potential for higher energy density than conventional methods. These include hydrogen storage in carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are unique structures with exceptional electronic and...

Biological Fuel Cells (BFCs) and the Bio-production of Hydrogen

A biological fuel cell (BFC) or microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a type of fuel cell that converts biochemical energy into electrical energy. Like other types of fuel cells, a biological fuel cell consists of an anode, a cathode, and a membrane that conducts ions. In the anode compartment, fuel is oxidized by microorganisms, and the result is...

How to Build a Fuel Cell

The first step in building a fuel cell is to determine the power requirements needed to power the particular device or application. Fuel cells can be used to power anything including phones, laptops, automobiles, buses, houses, businesses and even space shuttles! A single fuel cell can be designed to achieve any current required for a particular application by merely increasing or decreasing the size of the...

Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Improvements

Fuel cells with polymer electrolyte membranes are appealing because of their low-temperature operation and relatively simple construction. The polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell consists of two catalyst electrodes (the anode and cathode) separated by polymer electrolyte. Gaseous fuels are fed continuously to the anode (negative electrode), while...

Fuel Cell Primer

Fuel cells produce electricity from reactants such as oxygen and hydrogen -- although other fuels besides hydrogen can be used. The electrochemical reaction produces water and heat as byproducts. Fuel cells are much more efficient than the internal combustion engine because they provide more...

Fuel Cell Stack Temperature in Mid-to-High Temperature Fuel Cells

There is an acute need for the development of long-lasting, efficient and portable power sources for further technology improvement in automobiles, commercial electronics devices, military and stationary applications. These systems all require the power source to be energy-efficient, and able to operate for long periods of time without...

Considerations for Stainless Steel Bipolar Plate Manufacturing

Low-temperature fuel cells have historically used CNC-machined graphite as bipolar plates. Graphite’s high-cost, high-permeability, and precise machining processes have presented difficulties for the large-scale market. Due to this, many other materials have been investigated, including carbon composite materials and...

Using Micro-Transport Phenomena in MEMs Fuel Cells

A lot of work has been devoted to the development of long-lasting, efficient and portable, power sources for further technology improvements in commercial electronics devices, medical diagnostic equipment, mobile communication and military applications. These systems all require...

Introduction to Electrolyzers

Electrolyzers use electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolysis of water occurs through an electrochemical reaction that does not require external components or moving parts. It is very reliable and can produce ultra-pure hydrogen (> 99.999%) in a non-polluting manner when...

Fuel Cell Gaskets, Spacers, and End Plates

Most people wouldn’t think that much thought needs to be put into fuel cell components such as fuel cell gaskets, spacers, and end plates, however, every part of the fuel cell stack requires careful consideration. Incorrect fuel cell gaskets and end plates can lead to gas leaks and insufficient fuel cell stack...

Materials Used for High-Temperature Fuel Cells

In a previous blog post, we described bipolar plates and the associated materials for low-temperature fuel cells. The materials previously described are selected for fuel cell stacks at or slightly above room-temperature -- which means that the materials are chemically compatible with the stack between 0 – 140 °C. The fuel cells that operate at higher temperatures require...

Flow-Field Design

In fuel cells, the flow field plates are designed to provide an adequate amount of the reactants (hydrogen and oxygen) to the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and catalyst surface while minimizing pressure drop. The most popular channel configurations for PEM fuel cells are serpentine, parallel, and...

Low-Temperature Bipolar Plates

Each component of the fuel cell must be designed properly – otherwise, you run the risk of decreasing fuel cell performance. The bipolar plates are termed “bipolar” because they have flow fields on both sides. This design is very convenient when you have membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) on both sides. In a fuel cell with a...

Water Management For PEM Fuel Cells

One of the greatest challenges associated with PEMFCs is the water balance in the fuel cell stack. As the chemical reaction occurs in each cell, water is generated. Depending upon the load and the operating conditions, there is a tendency for the fuel cells to both flood and dry-out. The water content in the...