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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...

Fuel Cell Operating Conditions

Fuel cell operating conditions depend upon the cell and stack design. The operating parameters that affect fuel cell performance are: Operating Pressure, Operating Temperature, Flow Rates of Reactants, and Humidity of Reactants. Using the correct operating condition for each parameter is...

Alternative Liquid Fuel Types for Fuel Cells
Fuel cells usually use compressed hydrogen as the fuel; however, there are many liquid fuels that can be used with fuel cells. Depending upon the system design, liquid fuel types may not be as efficient as pure hydrogen because...
Considerations for Fuel Cell Design
When you first consider your fuel cell stack design, you will need to calculate several main factors to make sure you are getting the power that is required.  This post will provide you with an overview of the initial considerations for fuel cell design in room-temperature fuel cells.
Considerations for Micro and MEMs Fuel Cells

The design elements of a micro or MEMs fuel cell stack are the same as a larger fuel cell stack, except that there should be special considerations for...

Low-Temperature Fuel Cell Membrane Electrode Assembly Processing Techniques

The fuel cell stack consists of many layers, including: The Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), Gaskets, Flow field plates, and End plates.  There are two standard methods of assembling the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) in low-temperature fuel cells. The catalyst layer can be applied in one or two steps. For the first method, there are five common ways to prepare and apply the catalyst for the GDL/catalyst assembly:

History of Fuel Cells

Fuel cells have been known in the scientific community for about 150 years. They began to be explored in the 1800s, and have been extensively researched during the second half of the twentieth and early twenty-first century.  A summary of fuel cell history is shown...

Characteristics and Safety of Hydrogen

Hydrogen has many unusual characteristics compared with other elements. Some of these interesting and unusual characteristics include...Table 1 compares relevant properties of hydrogen, methane, methanol, ethanol, propane, and gasoline—all of which can be used as fuel for fuel cells.

What is a Fuel Cell?

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert chemical energy from the reactants directly into electricity and heat. The device consists of an electrolyte layer in contact with a porous anode and cathode on either side. An illustration of a fuel cell with reactant/product gasses and the ion conduction flow directions through the cell is...

Introduction to Fuel Cell Applications

Fuel cells have been researched and developed for use in several applications since the early 1990's. Fuel cells can be used for portable, backup, transportation, and stationary power applications. This article briefly describes some of these uses for fuel cells.