Related topics: hydrogen · catalyst · energy · electricity · chemical reactions

Making hydrogen energy with the common nickel

To resolve the energy crisis and environmental issues, research to move away from fossil fuels and convert to eco-friendly and sustainable hydrogen energy is well underway around the world. Recently, a team of researchers ...

Sustainable transportation: Clearing the air on nitrogen doping

Proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are an energy storage technology that will help lower the environmental footprint of transportation. These fuel cells make use of a chemical reaction known as oxygen reduction. This ...

Materials scientists create stronger cobalt for fuel cells

A multi-institutional research team led by materials scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has designed a highly active and durable catalyst that doesn't rely on costly platinum to spur the necessary ...

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Fuel cell

A fuel cell is an electrochemical conversion device. It produces electricity from fuel (on the anode side) and an oxidant (on the cathode side), which react in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it. Fuel cells can operate virtually continuously as long as the necessary flows are maintained.

Fuel cells are different from electrochemical cell batteries in that they consume reactant from an external source, which must be replenished – a thermodynamically open system. By contrast, batteries store electrical energy chemically and hence represent a thermodynamically closed system.

Many combinations of fuels and oxidants are possible. A hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen as its fuel and oxygen (usually from air) as its oxidant. Other fuels include hydrocarbons and alcohols. Other oxidants include chlorine and chlorine dioxide.

The principle of the fuel cell had been demonstrated by Sir William Grove in 1839, and other investigators had experimented with various forms of fuel cell. The first practical fuel cell was developed by Francis Thomas Bacon in 1959.

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