Fuel Cell

A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used. Fuel cells are different from batteries in that they require a constant source of fuel and oxygen to run, but they can produce electricity continually for as long as these inputs are supplied.

Welsh Physicist William Grove developed the first crude fuel cells in 1839. The first commercial use of fuel cells was in NASA space programs to generate power for probes, satellites and space capsules. Since then, fuel cells have been used in many other applications. Fuel cells are used for primary and backup power for commercial, industrial and residential buildings and in remote or inaccessible areas. They are used to power fuel cell vehicles, including automobiles, buses, forklifts, airplanes, boats, motorcycles and submarines.

There are many types of fuel cells, but they all consist of an anode (negative side), a cathode (positive side) and an electrolyte that allows charges to move between the two sides of the fuel cell. Electrons are drawn from the anode to the cathode through an external circuit, producing direct current electricity. As the main difference among fuel cell types is the electrolyte, fuel cells are classified by the type of electrolyte they use. Fuel cells come in a variety of sizes. Individual fuel cells produce relatively small electrical potentials, about 0.7 volts, so cells are "stacked", or placed in series, to increase the voltage and meet an application's requirements. In addition to electricity, fuel cells produce water, heat and, depending on the fuel source, very small amounts of nitrogen dioxide and other emissions. The energy efficiency of a fuel cell is generally between 40–60%, or up to 85% efficient if waste heat is captured for use.

Read more about Fuel Cell:  History, Types of Fuel Cells; Design, Markets and Economics, Research and Development

Other articles related to "fuel, fuel cell, fuel cells":

Timeline Of Hydrogen Technologies - Timeline - 1900s
... to internal combustion engines using a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen as fuel 1935 - Eugene Wigner and H.B. 1938 - Igor Sikorsky from Sikorsky Aircraft proposed liquid hydrogen as a fuel ... Rudolf Erren - Erren engine - US patent 2,183,674 - Internal combustion engine using hydrogen as fuel 1939 - Hans Gaffron discovered that algae can switch between producing ...
Sossina M. Haile - Creation of Alternative Fuel
... Sossina Haile created a new type of fuel cell by default. 1990s, the Caltech scientist had an idea that she thought might dramatically improve fuel cells, the clean technology that converts chemical energy to electricity to power ... But when fuel-cell makers balked at revamping their entire systems to try her solution, Haile decided to fabricate the world's first solid-acid fuel cell in her lab ...
Fuel Cell - Research and Development
... use triazole to raise the operating temperature of PEM fuel cells from below 100 °C to over 125 °C, claiming this will require less carbon-monoxide ... Ohio, show that arrays of vertically grown carbon nanotubes could be used as the catalyst in fuel cells ... high energy density, which may lead to improvements in fuel cell technology ...
Chevrolet Sequel
... The Sequel is powered by a fuel cell powertrain, which includes an electronic control unit and a fourth-generation version of GM's fuel-cell stack ... A fuel-cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen fuel with oxygen from air to produce electricity ...
Bernard S. Baker - Selected Publications - Technical
... Hydrocarbon Fuel Cell Technology, (Editor), 1965, American Chemical Society, ISBN 0-12-074250-0 Fuel Cell Systems-II 5th Biennal Fuel Cell Symposium ...

Famous quotes containing the words cell and/or fuel:

    There’s not one part of his physical being that’s like that of human beings. From his warped brain down to the tiniest argumentative cell of his huge carcass, he’s unearthly.
    —Willis Cooper. Rowland V. Lee. Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone)

    It is now many years that men have resorted to the forest for fuel and the materials of the arts: the New Englander and the New Hollander, the Parisian and the Celt, the farmer and Robin Hood, Goody Blake and Harry Gill; in most parts of the world, the prince and the peasant, the scholar and the savage, equally require still a few sticks from the forest to warm them and cook their food. Neither could I do without them.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)