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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...
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...
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...
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...
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 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...
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...
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...
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 system designs range from very simple to very complex depending upon the fuel cell application and the system efficiency desired. A fuel cell system can be very efficient with just the fuel cell stack and a few other balance-of-plant components or may require many outside components to optimize...
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...
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...
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.