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Introduction It is an electrochemical device which convert hydrogen and oxygen into water producing electricity and heat in the process. It is much like a battery that can be recharged while you are drawing power from it. It provides a DC voltage that can be used to power motors, lights and any number of electrical appliances.
The Invention of the Fuel Cell Sir William Grove invented the first fuel cell in 1839. Grove knew that water could be split into hydrogen and oxygen by sending an electric current through it (a process called electrolysis). He hypothesized that by reversing the procedure you could produce electricity and water. He created a primitive fuel cell and called it a gas voltaic battery. After experimenting with his new invention, Grove proved his hypothesis. Fifty years later, scientists Ludwig Mond and Charles Langer coined the term fuel cell while attempting to build a practical model to produce electricity
What is a fuel cell? 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. A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction. Every fuel cell has two electrodes, one positive and one negative, called, respectively, the cathode and anode. The reactions that produce electricity take place at the electrodes
Why we need fuel cell?Fuel cell provides an alternate efficient non polluting power source that produces no noise and has no moving parts.It is expected that by 2050 the global energy demand is going to rise by 2 to 3 times.This calls for optimization of generation of energy through well-known sources, preferably renewable energy for commercial exploitation.
How fuel cells work ? Chemistry of fuel cell At anode:- 2H 4H + 4e 2 At Cathode:- O + 4H + 4e 2H O 2 2 NET REACTION 2H2 + O2 2H O 2
Advantages Fuel cell system are environmentally benign . High conversion efficiency . Extremely low emission. Noise less operations. Has no moving parts
Applications Fuel cells powered cars will start to replace gas and diesel engine cars in about 2055. . Fuel cell powered buses are already running in several cities.. This promising application will one day even power our houses.
Applications Fuel cells also make sense for portable power like laptop computers and cellular phones.
Telecommunications - With the use of computers, the Internet, and communication networks steadily increasing, there comes a need for more reliable power than is available on the current electrical grid, and fuel cells have proven to be up to 99.999% (five nines) reliable. Fuel cells can replace batteries to provide power for 1kW to 5kW telecom sites without noise or emissions, and are durable, providing power in sites that are either hard to access or are subject to inclement weather. Such systems would be used to provide primary or backup power for telecom switch nodes, cell towers, and other electronic systems that would benefit from on-site, direct DC power supply.
Major organizations working in thefield Ministry of NCES IITs CSIR labs BHEL GAIL BARC MIT
Disadvantages Initialcost of installation is higher. Comparative cost of energy storage of fuel cells is around twice that of conventional sources of energy. Energy produced by one fuel cell is around 0.7 volts.
Recent development LLC, latham,NY has successfully developed 50 KW power plant. Fuel cell of capacity 1.5KW is powering houses in Australia. GAIL is actively involved in establishing fuel infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles in India. CECRI, karaikudi has developed and tested MCFC stack.
Conclusion The above discussion prove the existence of huge market for fuel cells. The commercial power units are technically feasible . Research and development should be aimed at reducing cost and increasing life. Future cities can be planned on fuel cell systems for their power and energy requirements.