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Fuel Cell Heat Flow

Understanding the flow of heat in a fuel cell is important to design and build a fuel cell properly. The energy that flows into and out of each process unit in the fuel cell needs to be accounted for to determine areas of excess heat and the overall energy requirements. There are several methods that...

Gas Diffusion Layer: Characteristics and Modeling

The gas diffusion layer (GDL) in a fuel cell can consist of a single layer or a double layer (gas diffusion layer and a microporous layer). The GDL is an essential part of the fuel cell because it causes the gases to spread out to maximize the contact surface area with the catalyst...

Energy Harnessed from the Wind: Part 2

Wind power generates electricity by transferring energy from wind to mechanical energy. The principle behind wind turbines is very simple: the energy in the wind turns two or three blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity. Wind turbines are mounted on...

Energy Harnessed from the Wind: Part I

Imagine that something that you cannot see can have enough movement to harness energy! From a scientific perspective, air is like any other fluid -- if it can be moved forcefully, the motion provides kinetic energy. In a wind-electric turbine, the turbine blades capture the kinetic energy of the...

Explanation of the Thermodynamics Behind Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Design

Thermodynamics is the study of energy changing from one form to another. Many predictions can be made using thermodynamic equations, and these are essential for understanding fuel cell and electrolyzer performance because these devices transform chemical energy into...

Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) Characterization

Selecting the appropriate technique to properly characterize the fuel cell is extremely important because it helps the user to understand why the fuel cell is performing well or poorly. These techniques will help discriminate between activation, ohmic and concentration losses, fuel crossover, and...

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...

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...

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...

Renewable Energy Systems in the Future: Part 2

Electricity for residential and business use can be produced using a combination of wind, solar, and hydrogen fuel cells. There also needs to be cooperation between corporations, utility companies, and individuals to successfully transition to a renewable energy economy. Corporations will have to manufacture...

Renewable Energy Systems in the Future: Part 1

Despite the recent negative publicity surrounding fossil fuels, crude oil, and natural gas have been beneficial for the growth of the modern world. It has allowed us to have life after dark, transport goods all over the world, and enabled technology to advance. However, the use of fossil fuels has also resulted in...

Transport of Electrons through the Fuel Cell

If you look at any basic fuel cell diagram, you can see that the fuel cell generates electrons. In the scientific or engineering circles, these electrons have many names, but a common term is “charge transport.” Charge transport is the movement of charges from the electrode (where they are produced) to the...