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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology. Essay

1034 words - 4 pages

Hydrogen Fuel CellsWhat if someone told you about a source of energy that was mobile, used air for fuel, and the only emission was water? Then what if they told you that we have the technology right now and is ready to be introduced into the public. Known as hydrogen fuel cells, this technology exists and is the future of energy. Fuel cells do not use fossil fuels and do not have any harmful emissions. Rather, they run off gasses that we breathe everyday and only emit what all life needs most, water. Hydrogen fuel cells are the future of energy because of their environmentally friendly fuel and emissions.Hydrogen fuel cells use the energy given off from the formation of hydrogen and oxygen into water. First, hydrogen flows one side of the fuel cell. Here a simple catalyst is used to break apart the nucleus of the atom from the electrons. As the positive hydrogen ions flow across the membrane, the electrons follow the path of least resistance which is through a circuit. The flow of electrons through the circuit is the usable energy and can be used to power anything electric. When the electrons reach the other side, they meet up with the hydrogen ions and oxygen from the air. Then they all combine and form the fuel cells only emission, water.Because so many things run on electricity, there are endless applications for fuel cells. Being originally invented for the automobile, fuel cells are perfect for cars. Electricity produces a more lower end power than gasoline which is where cars need power the most. They have been found to be much more efficient source of energy in powering homes and businesses. This allows buildings to be more self-contained by not needing power lines strung to them. Micro-fuel cells are now being made for small electronics. These never need new batteries or have to recharge, but just need to be refueled. Even larger hand-held appliances such as laptops that before needed constant recharging will be able to run up to ten hours on a single fill. Then, if needed, additional hydrogen could be carried easily and fill the laptop again instead of needing an outlet and time to recharge it.The fuel cell shown earlier is known as a proton exchange membrane or PEM, but it is not the only type of fuel cell. There are various other forms of this same technology that vary according to their electrolyte and anode gas. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, which makes each useful in certain applications. The PEM is one of the most promising fuel cell types for widespread use. PEMs are very responsive to varying loads (such as driving) and are increasingly cheap to manufacture. The PEM'sFuel CellTypeElectrolyteAnode GasCathode GasTemperatureEfficiencyProton Exchange Membrane(PEM)solid polymer membranehydrogenpure or atmospheric oxygen75°C(180°F)35-60%Alkaline(AFC)potassium hydroxidehydrogenpureoxygenbelow80°C50-70%Direct Methanol(DMFC)solid polymer membranemethanol solution in...

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