Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Friday, 17 July 2009 11:20

Hydrogen fuel cells- how do they work?

The hydrogen fuel cell works in a way that is similar to a battery. It has two electrodes, an anode and a cathode, which are separated by a membrane. Hydrogen passes over one electrode, while oxygen passes over the other. The hydrogen reacts to a catalyst on the electrode anode which turns the hydrogen gas into negatively charged electrons (e-) and positively charged ions (H+). The electrons are then used as electrical energy when they flow out of the cells.

The hydrogen ions move through the electrolyte membrane to the cathode electrode where they combine with oxygen and the electrons to produce water. Fuel cells never cease functioning- which make them superior to batteries.

This fuel-cell system should achieve accomplishments competitive with those of internal-combustion-engine propulsion systems. It should also have the potential to meet competitive production costs. The world's first direct-hydrogen fuel-cell power system produced more than 50 kilowatts of electrical power. There is, however, more that needs to be done. In order for the system to be competitive, low-cost components will need to be introduced. In order for this to occur, low-cost, high-volume manufacturing methods must be developed. Hydrogen storage systems will also need to be developed and they will need to be lightweight, compact and affordable.

Sources: www.inventors.about.com