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Fuel Cells Essay

631 words - 3 pages

FUEL CELLS? HYDROGEN?
By: Lorena Segundo, Fariha Shova, Carlos Sanchez, and Christian Polanco

WHAT ARE FUEL CELLS? Cells that produce an electric current directly from a
chemical reaction.
WHAT IS A CURRENT? Movement of electrical charge
HYDROGEN? A colorless and highly flammable gas
It is the lightest element on the periodic table It is also the most abundant substance in the universe

A fuel cell converts the chemical energy (hydrogen and oxygen) into water, and in the process it
produces ELECTRICITY

History: Hydrogen/Fuel Cells ● Demonstrated fuel cells in the early nineteenth century by
Humphry Davy ● Followed by pioneering work on what were to become fuel
cells by scientist Christian Friedrich Schönbein in 1838 ● Scientists had been producing hydrogen for years before it was
recognized as an element ● Robert Boyle produced hydrogen gas as early as 1671 while
experimenting with iron and acids

Components of Fuel Cells ● Between the electrodes is where
the electrolyte is located. It serves as a separator that keeps the reactants from mixing within the fuel cell
● Electrodes (the anode and cathode) are the catalysts where the electric chemical reactions occur
● Beyond that are the bipolar plates which collect the currents emitted and builds voltage for the cell

HOW IS THIS ENERGY PRODUCED? 1. The hydrogen enters the fuel cell at the anode
(POSITIVELY CHARGED ELECTRODE). The chemical reaction strips the hydrogen molecules from their electrons.
2. The electrons travel through wires to provide a current to do WORK.
3. The oxygen enters at the cathode (NEGATIVELY CHARGED ELECTRODE), usually from the air. The oxygen picks up the electrons that have completed their journey.
4. The oxygen then combines with the hydrogen atoms and water is formed as the WASTE PRODUCT.

THEN...

ELECTRICITY IS PRODUCED

Hydrogen is never found on its own. -Always combined into molecules with other elements, typically oxygen and carbon. -This makes powering fuel cells a tricky subject because it runs most efficiently with hydrogen

Hydrogen can be renewable or nonrenewable. However, you can get hydrogen from various sources such as nonrenewable fossil fuels (natural gas, coal, petroleum, etc.) or renewable resources such as water.

Hydrogen can be stored as either a liquid or a gas depending on what...

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