Hydrogen Fuel Cells
By: Caitlin
  • How Fuel Cells Work
    • electrochemical energy conversion device is their technical name
    • they convert the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water
    • in the process they produce electricity
    • with fuel cells, chemicals are constantly being supplied, so they never run out and go deadthey take the chemical energy stored in the fuel (hydrogen, methan, etc) and through a process of two electrochemical reactions, it converts the chemical energy directly into electricity
      • as long as there is a flow of chemicals into the cell, electricity flows out
    • to make higher voltages, scientists can stack several fuel cells on top of eachother
      • this is called a "fuel cell stack"
      • the fuel cells are then combined using metal or carbon plates so they can power larger items (car,etc.)






  • What's in a fuel cell?
    • hydrogen fuel cells use hydrogen as the fuel as well as an oxidant to generate electricity through an electrochemical process
    • all fuel cells have an electrolyte and two electrodes
    • for a hydrogen fuel cell:
      • hydrogen is fuel
      • oxygen is the oxidant

  • What are hydrogen fuel cells used for?
    • transportation
      • vehicles
    • portable uses
    • stationary instillations
      • heat/cool apartments or houses

  • Different Types of Fuel Cells
    • all fuel cells produce electricity using the same process
    • there are 2 main differences
      • electrolyte
        • different electrolytes provide different voltages and different properties
        • fuel cells are commonly named after the type of electrolyte used
        • examples are polymer membrane, phospheric acid, alkaline potassium hydroxide, molten alkaline carbonate, an hard ceramic metal
      • operating temperature
        • the temperature that the fuel cell must be in order to produce electricity
        • fuel cells used for transportation often have a low operating temperature

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