DISTRIBUTED POWER GENERATIONUSING FUEL CELLS
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Joined: Mar 2010
02-04-2010, 03:23 PM
You may have heard a lot recently about fuel cells. According to many news reports, we may soon be using the new energy-saving technology to generate electrical power for our homes and cars. The technology is extremely interesting to people in all walks of life because it offers a means of making power more efficiently and with less pollution. But how does it do this?
If you want to be technical about it, a fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. A fuel cell converts the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process it produces electricity.
The fuel cell will compete with many other types of energy conversion devices, including the gas turbine in your city's power plant, the gasoline engine in your car and the battery in your laptop. Combustion engines like the turbine and the gasoline engine burn fuels and use the pressure created by the expansion of the gases to do mechanical work. Batteries converted chemical energy back into electrical energy when needed. Fuel cells should do both tasks more efficiently.There are several different types of fuel cells, each using a different chemistry. Fuel cells are usually classified by the type of electrolyte they use. Some types of fuel cells work well for use in stationary power generation plants. Others may be useful for small portable applications or for powering cars.
The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is one of the most promising technologies. This is the type of fuel cell that will end up powering cars, buses and maybe even your house. The PEMFC uses one of the simplest reactions of any fuel cell. First, let's take a look at what's in a PEM fuel cell:
Here, we'll take a quick look at each of the existing or emerging fuel-cell technologies. We'll detail how one of the most promising technologies works, and we'll discuss the DISTRIBUTED POWER GENERATION Using FUEL CELLS and to mitigate load transients.
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