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