Fuel Cells

who made it:
In 1839 Sir William Grove invented the fuel cells. In the 1930’s, Francis Bacon saw that the hydrogen and oxygen in water had low solubility, which was the problem. This led him to create a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.
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how it works:
When you turn on your car, hydrogen and compressed air are pushed toward the fuel cell module. All electricity created is then pushed toward the driving system in your car. The driving system then makes your car's wheels go round. This is two to three times more efficient than using oil.

describe technology:
The fuel cell is made up of a negative electrode (the anode), a positive electrode (the cathode), and an electrolyte. They are all seperated by plastic membranes. Fuel gas (pure hydrogen) is transported through the anode towards where the anode and the electrolytes meet where the following oxodation reaction occurs: H2(g) = 2H+ + 2e-. The excited electrons get out of the anode and through the outside circuit where work is performed, then finally, into the cathode. Whereas, the positive hydrogen ions move across the electrolyte, towards the cathode, where they finally react with oxygen gas and electrons to create water according to: 2H+ + 1/2 02 (g) + 2e- = H20. The final fuel cell reaction then is: H2 + 1/2 02 = H20.

Why it was developed:
The fuel cell was created to prevent pollution and to be more efficient for cars and other vehicles. Also, oil prices will rise by 13 percent by 2025 so we need an alternative fuel for the future or else we will struggle.

In 1889, Sir William Grove finished his experiments on the electrolysis of water. From 1889 until the early twentieth century, a lot of people tried to make a Fuel cell that could convert coal or carbon to electricity directly. These attempts failed because not enough was known about materials or electricity. In 1932, Francis Bacon developed the first successful Fule cell. He used hydrogen, oxygen, an alkaline electrolyte, and nickel electrodes. Bacon and a co-worker produced a 5-kW fuel cell system in 1952. The large boost in Fuel cell technology came from NASA. In the late 1950's, NASA needed a way to generate electricity for space missions. Nuclear was too dangerous and batteries were too heavy. Fuel cells were the answer. NASA went on to fund 200 research contracts for Fuel cell technology. The major efforts are presently focused on developing stationary power units and power systems for transportation applications, like electric vehicles. Right now there are five major fuel cell types: alkaline fuel cell , molten carbonate fuel cell, phosphoric acid fuel cell, polymer electrolyte fuel cell, and solid fuel cell. Before fuel cells were invented, we used oil to power cars. But fuel cells are more efficient.

Distributed power generation with Direct FuelCells® provides numerous benefits and is being adopted at a wide array of facilities. Benefits include:

2.Environmental Impact
4.Fuel flexibility

6.Storage and Other Considerations

Special Resources:
Fuel cell handbook, fourth edition