Renewable Energy: Fuel Cells

Fuel cells basic:

1. Fuel cells are energy converters which produce dc (direct current) electrical current and runs commonly on hydrogen gas.

2. They are electrochemical devices which run on fuel like normal ICE (internal combustion engine). However, there is no combustion in a fuel cell, only electrochemical reactions.

3. Energy conversion efficiency of a fuel cell (40-50%) is much higher than ICE (25-30%).

4. Fuel cells need a steady feed of reactants (hydrogen and oxygen) to produce electricity. Oxygen is normally obtain from the atmospheric air.

5. PEMFC (Proton exchange membrane fuel cell) produces electricity and the by-product from the exhaust is water. So, they are environmental friendly and non-polluting during operation. If the source of hydrogen is from other renewable source via electrolysis of water, then it is considered 100% green technology.

Fuel cell in transportation:

Fuel cells cars have the potential to replace fossil fuel cars. Fuel cell cars are electric cars with fuel cells as power train instead of batteries.

They run quietly and produces water at the exhaust.

Refilling time for hydrogen gas is same like NGV (natural gas vehicle). Which is considerably shorter than charging time for batteries.

The range of fuel cell vehicle depends on the capacity of hydrogen storage. With composite tanks capable of pressure up to 700bars upwards, the range of the fuel cell car can match that of fossil fuel cars.