Basic knowledge of fuel cell

Basic knowledge of fuel cell

Fuel Cell is a power generation device that directly converts the chemical energy in fuel and oxidant into electrical energy. Fuel and air are fed into the fuel cell separately, and electricity is magically produced. It looks like a battery with positive and negative poles and electrolytes from the outside, but in fact it cannot “storage” but is a “power plant”.

Basic knowledge of fuel cell
fuel cells

The fuel cell contains two electrodes, anode and cathode, respectively filled with electrolyte, and the two electrodes are composed of a permeable membrane. Hydrogen enters the fuel supply from the anode, and oxygen (or air) enters the battery from the cathode.

The battery uses a catalyst to decompose the hydrogen atoms of the anode into hydrogen protons and electrons. The protons enter the electrolyte and are “attracted” by oxygen to the other side of the film. After the electrons form a current through the external circuit, Reach the cathode. Under the action of the cathode catalyst, hydrogen protons, oxygen and electrons react to form water molecules. This is the reverse process of the electrolysis reaction of water, so water is the only emission from the fuel cell.

In the past few years, the demand for long-running portable power supplies has grown rapidly. The increase in electronic devices used in military systems and rapidly-applied consumer electronic devices, such as laptops, mobile phones, and video cameras, requires immediate charging of mobile power solutions. Lithium batteries are widely used in power electronic equipment and sensors, but its well-known shortcomings, namely discharge rate, replenishment capacity, safety issues and disposal issues, force power system designers to investigate the potential applications of fuel cells. Manufacturers of rechargeable batteries are increasingly using fuel cells to replace lithium batteries. Fuel cells generate electricity through electrochemical conversion that can immediately replenish fuel. For the portable power supply, direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) provides the most promising solution.

Metal fuel cells (MFC) can provide electricity in a reliable and cost-effective way. Zinc-air fuel cells can generate more than 4kW·h/kg of electricity, which is about 1,000 times that of lead-acid batteries and three times that of gasoline.

Thailand has seriously considered using DMFC fuel cells to power motorcycles at the lowest cost and complexity. In the transportation field, there is great interest in the design and development of low-cost fuel cells to provide clean, reliable and safe backup power. These low-cost, low-power fuel cells can be designed with a capacity of 1-10kw·h to meet energy requirements.

Fuel cells are classified according to the electrolyte used in the module. The following four different types of fuel cells are used as power sources and have gained great interest from users:
· Low-temperature phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC);
· Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell;
· High temperature molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC);
· Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC).

Basic knowledge of fuel cell
types of fuel cell

The research and development activities carried out by various fuel cell companies have shown that proton exchange membrane fuel cells provide a simple design, improve reliability, reduce procurement, low operating costs, and occupy a small area. Dow Chemical Company and Ballard Power Systems Co., Ltd. are committed to the commercialization of proton exchange membrane fuel cells in the distributed power generation market. No matter who the manufacturer is, fuel cells have the following unique characteristics:
· Fuel cells can be stacked in various configurations to meet different capacity requirements in the same battery design.
· The fuel cell has a relatively high efficiency regardless of size. The fuel cell is easy to set up because the environmental interference is extremely low.
· The fuel cell can use a variety of fast-changing fuels provided.
· Fuel cells provide operational advantages, such as power control, rapid ascent speed, remote and unmanned operation, and high reliability due to inherent redundant functions.

Because of its high reliability, as early as 1960, fuel cells provided onboard power for manned spacecraft, and produced safe drinking water for astronauts. In the past few years, fuel cells have received a lot of research and development support.