Introduction to Fuel Cells
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device (a galvanic cell) which converts free energy of a chemical reaction into electrical energy (electricity); byproducts are heat and water/steam if hydrogen and air are the reactants; in some fuel cell types, the additional byproducts may be carbon dioxide and leftover lower forms of hydrocarbons depending on the fossil fuels used. There is no combustion in this process and hence no NOx are generated. Sulfur is poison to all fuel cells so it must be removed from any fuel before feeding to any fuel cell type; hence, no SOx are generated. A fuel cell produces electricity on demand continuously as long as the fuel and oxidant are supplied. For reference, primary cell or battery is also an electrochemical energy producing device (one-way chemical reaction producing electricity) and needs to throw away once the battery is discharged. A rechargeable or secondary battery is an electrochemical energy storage device having reversible chemical reaction producing or using electricity, but it also has a limited life.
KeywordsFuel Cell Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Bipolar Plate
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