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Information @ a Glance

General

  • A fuel cell is a mini power plant that produces electricity without combustion. Chemical energy is converted directly into electrical energy and heat when hydrogen fuel is combined with oxygen from the air. Water is the only by-product. No pollutantsare produced if pure hydrogen is used.
  • A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. Fuel cells differ from batteries in that they are designed for continuous replenishment of the reactants consumed;they produce electricity from an external supply of fuel and oxygen as opposed to the limited internal energy storage capacity of a battery

How it Works?

  • The purpose of a fuel cell is to produce an electrical current that can be directed outside the cell to do work, such as powering an electric motor or illuminating a light bulb or a city. Because of the way electricity behaves, this current returns to the fuel cell, completing an electrical circuit. The chemical reactions that produce this current are the key to how a fuel cell works.

Technology

  • Fuel cells have the potential to become the dominant technology for automotive engines, power stations, and power packs for portable electronics.
  • Emerging fuel cell applications in the areas of transportation, industry, the home, and consumer products speak to the enormous potential for this technology

Market

  • The global fuel cell industry is expected to generate more than $18.6 billion in 2013. Fuel cell sales will come from three main market applications: automotive, stationary, and portables. projected sales could generate nearly $35 billion if market conditions improved for automotive fuel cells.
  • Commercial demand for fuel cell products and services, including revenues associated with prototyping and test marketing activities, will increase nearly sevenfold to $2.6 billion in 2009. By 2014, those revenues are expected to reach $13.6 billion as a number of viable markets for fuel cells are projected to develop during this time period, while advances and economies of scale help drive costs down to competitive levels.
  • Electric power generation is emerging as the first large-scale commercial application for fuel cells and will account for more than half of global product and service demand through 2014

Applications

  • Fuel cells are very useful as power sources in remote locations, such as spacecraft, remote weather stations, large parks, rural locations, and in certain military applications. A fuel cell system running on hydrogen can be compact, lightweight and has no major moving parts. Because fuel cells have no moving parts, and do not involve combustion, in ideal conditions they can achieve up to 99.9999% reliability. This equates to less than one minute of down time in a six year period.
  • There are many uses for fuel cells right now, all of the major automakers are working to commercialize a fuel cell car. Fuel cells are powering buses, boats, trains, planes, scooters, forklifts, even bicycles. There are fuel cell-powered vending machines, vacuum cleaners and highway road signs. Miniature fuel cells for cellular phones, laptop computers and portable electronics are on their way to market. Hospitals, credit card centers, police stations, and banks are all using fuel cells to provide power to their facilities.

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