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Stationary Fuel Cell Power Applications

Fuel cells can be used for primary power, backup power, or combined heat and power (CHP) for stationary applications. Stationary fuel cells can be sized to power anything from a single-family home to a large business center, which means they make sense for a wide range of markets including retail, data centers, residential, telecommunications, and...

Fuel Cell Buses, Utility Vehicles and Scooters

Fuel cells can be used to power the electric motor of buses, utility vehicles, and electric scooters. The vast majority of these fuel cells use oxygen from the air and compressed hydrogen; therefore, these vehicles only emit water and heat as byproducts. The major reason for developing fuel cell technology for...

Science and Engineering Careers & Basic Science Experiments for Kids

I was getting my haircut last week, and my hairdresser told me that her daughters are interested in science. She then asked me, “What should I tell them about science-based careers?” “I really do not know what scientists and engineers do?” I could see my hairdresser’s point-of-view though, I really did not know much about engineering or...

Fuel Cell Vehicles - Automobiles

Fuel cell vehicles (FCV) use fuel cells to power the vehicle’s electric motor. Many FCVs use a fuel cell combined with a battery and supercapacitor to efficiently start-up, power, and utilize the best energy source for constant and peak power. In FCVs, the fuel cell uses oxygen from...

Become a Renewable Energy Expert

Many years ago, there was a great guy that used to sit next to me at work. We used to laugh a lot when people called themselves “experts.” When it was really true -- we didn’t laugh; however, it often was not true. Our fast-paced culture breeds this mentality because many individuals think that if they do something...

How to Predict Fuel Cell Performance

The performance of a fuel cell stack can be estimated using a few equations combined with some input data. A common way of characterizing performance of different fuel cell stacks is using polarization curves. Although you cannot pinpoint specific issues with these curves, they will allow you to calculate the overall performance. An example polarization curve is...

Transport Phenomena in Micro and MEMs Fuel Cells

As fuel cell size decreases, the transport phenomena of the fuels and water changes in the fuel cell. In standard fuel cell designs, the movement of fuel and water is governed by volumetric effects, but surface effects become critical as dimensions shrink. A good rule of thumb is that millimeter-scale devices are small enough for...

Fuel Cell Reactant Delivery

Small plant components are required to deliver the reactants to the fuel cell with the required conditions. Examples of these components are blowers, compressors, pumps, and humidification systems used to deliver the gases to the fuel cell with the proper temperature, humidity, flow rate and...

Fuel Cell Electrolyte Layer Modeling

The electrolyte layer is essential for a fuel cell to work properly. In PEM fuel cells (PEMFCs), the fuel travels to the catalyst layer and gets broken into protons (H+) and electrons. The electrons travel to the external circuit to power the load, and the hydrogen protons travel through the electrolyte until it reaches the cathode to combine with oxygen to form...

Pressure Distribution in Bipolar Plate Flow Channels

After the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) has been fabricated, it must be integrated into a fuel cell stack. The stack has multiple jobs, including evenly distributing fuel and oxidant to the cells, collecting the current to power the desired devices, and evenly distributing or discarding heat and...

Processing Alternative Fuels for Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are not limited to pure hydrogen gas as fuel. Each type of fuel cell stack has different fuel tolerances. The lower the operating temperature of the stack, the stricter the requirements for pure fuel. For fuels other than pure hydrogen, an external fuel processing system may...

Chemical Hydrides

Fuel cells often use compressed hydrogen as the fuel; however, many other hydrogen sources can be used with fuel cells. Chemical hydride storage is an alternative method of producing hydrogen via a chemical reaction. These reactions involve chemical hydrides, water, and alcohols. The chemical reactions are not reversible, and the byproducts must be discarded. Hydrogen fuel can also...

Metal Hydrides

Fuel cells usually use compressed hydrogen as the fuel, but there are many other types of fuels that can be used. The type of fuel used depends upon the fuel cell application. Fuels are often in their final form before entering the fuel cell; however, certain fuel cell types can be processed on the inside of the fuel cell. Alternative fuel types are...

The Effect of Clamping Pressure on Fuel Cell Performance

There are many steps involved in the manufacturing of a fuel cell stack. One of these steps is the hot pressing of the polymer electrolyte membrane to the two gas diffusion layers (GDLs). This creates a three-layer laminate membrane electrode assembly (MEA). Other steps involve the machining or etching of the...

How to Estimate Electricity Requirements

When you receive your energy bill each month, you may not understand exactly how the total amount has been calculated. Every device or appliance in your household contributes to the total sum of the bill. To figure out which appliances and devices are using the most energy, you can estimate the...