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AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY

AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY

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 AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY
Brian Cook Heliocentris3652 West 5th AvenueVancouver, BC V6R-1S2CanadaDecember 2001
 
AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY
ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
An Introduction to Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technology1. What is a fuel cell?..................................................................................................................12. History of fuel cells.................................................................................................................22.1 The “Gas Battery..........................................................................................................22.2 The “Bacon fuel cell”.....................................................................................................42.3 Fuel cells for NASA.......................................................................................................52.4 Alkaline fuel cells for terrestrial applications ................................................................62.5 The PEM fuel cell...........................................................................................................72.5.1 Ballard Power........................................................................................................72.5.2 Los Alamos National Laboratory ..........................................................................83. Fuel cell applications ..............................................................................................................83.1 Transportation ................................................................................................................83.2 Distributed power generation.......................................................................................103.2.1 Grid-connect applications....................................................................................113.2.2 Non-grid connect applications.............................................................................113.3 Residential Power.........................................................................................................123.4 Portable Power.....................................................................................................143.4.1 Direct methanol fuel cells for portable power.....................................................164. The science of the PEM fuel cell..........................................................................................174.1 The Chemistry of a Single Cell....................................................................................174.2 The Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM).................................................................194.3 Cell Voltage and Efficiency.........................................................................................205. Direct methanol fuel cell.......................................................................................................226. Where will the hydrogen come from?...................................................................................226.1 Reformation of hydrocarbon fuels................................................................................236.2 Renewable Energy Systems .........................................................................................246.3 Biological Methods......................................................................................................257. Benefits and obstacles to the success of fuel cells and the development of a hydrogen-basedeconomy.........................................................................................................................................257.1 Benefits.........................................................................................................................257.2 Obstacles ......................................................................................................................268. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................279. References.............................................................................................................................279.1 Internet sources.............................................................................................................2810. Aknowledgements............................................................................................................2811. About the Author..............................................................................................................28
 
AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY
iii
FIGURES
 
FIGURE
 
1.
 
Trends in the use of fuels. As fuel use has developed through time, thepercentage of hydrogen content in the fuel has increased.....................................2FIGURE 2. The principle of an electrolyzer.............................................................................3FIGURE 3. Grove’s ‘gas battery’ (1839) produced a voltage of about 1 volt, and Grove’s ‘gaschain’ powering an electrolyzer (1842).................................................................3FIGURE 4. Bacon’s laboratory, at the Department of Chemical Engineering, CambridgeUniversity (1955)...................................................................................................4FIGURE 5. NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter fuel cell. .................................................................5FIGURE 6. Two prototype automobiles powered by fuel cells, the NECAR 5 and JEEPCommander, from DaimlerChrysler......................................................................9FIGURE 7. A fuel-cell distributed power plant. ....................................................................12FIGURE 8. A fuel-cell power plant for residential applications provides 7 kilowatts heat andelectricity, enough power for a modern energy efficient home...........................13FIGURE 9. A prototype portable fuel cell provides 50 watts electrical power. ....................14FIGURE 10. Graphs comparing the energy density of compressed hydrogen (3000 psi) versuslithium-ion and lead acid batteries.......................................................................15FIGURE 11. A prototype direct methanol fuel cell used as a lithium battery charger providesup to 20 watts electrical power. ..........................................................................17FIGURE 12. Diagram of a single PEM fuel cell.......................................................................18FIGURE 13. Chemical structure of a PEM fuel cell membrane. Long chains of PTFE(Teflon®) with side chain ending with sulphonic acid (HSO
3
)...........................20FIGURE 14. Close-up of a PEM fuel cell membrane. .............................................................20FIGURE 15. Graph comparing carbon dioxide emissions of cars, using different types of fuelsources.................................................................................................................23FIGURE 16. Electrical power from renewable energy sources................................................24

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