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BY RAVI BHASKAR MECH- B ROLL NO.-80
CONTENTS INTRODUCTION PROTON EXCHANGE MEMBRANE CHEMISTRY OF FUEL CELLS PROBLEMS WITH FUEL CELLS EFFICIENCY OF FUEL CELLS TYPES OF FUEL CELLS APPLICATIONS CURRENT SCENARIOS .
It is like a battery that can be recharged while you are deriving power from it.INTRODUCTION A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. which can be converted back into electrical energy when needed. . A fuel cell provides a DC( direct current) voltage that can be used to power motors. each having a different chemistry. Batteries store electrical energy by converting it to chemical energy. This device converts hydrogen and oxygen into water. petrol or diesel engine etc. combustion engines like the turbine and the gasoline engine burn fuels and use the pressure created by the expansion of gases to do mechanical work. In fuel cell hydrogen and oxygen are used for recharging. The fuel cell will compete with many other types of energy conversion devices such as gas turbine. lights or any number of electrical appliances. There are several different types of fuel cells. producing electricity and heat in the process.
PROTON EXCHANGE MEMBRANE The proton exchange membrane fuel cell( PEMFC) is one of the most promising technologies. DIAGRAM: - Proton exchange membrane e e H+ H+ O Oxygen from air exhaust H-H H2O . PEMFC uses one of the simplest reactions of any fuel cell.
Cathode. . The platinum coated side of the catalyst faces the PEM. the positive post of the fuel cell. The catalyst is rough and porous so that the maximum surface area of the platinum can be exposed to the hydrogen or oxygen. has channels etched into it that distribute the oxygen to the surface of the catalyst. This specially treated material which looks like an ordinary kitchen plastic wrap. The electrolyte is the proton exchange membrane. It is usually made of platinum powder very thinly coated onto carbon paper or cloth. It conducts the electrons that are freed from the hydrogen molecules so that they can be used in an external circuit. It has channels etched into it that disperse the hydrogen gas equally over the surface of the catalyst.CONSTRUCTION There are four basic elements in a PEMFC: The anode. the negative post of the fuel cell. The membrane blocks electrons. It also conducts the electrons back from the external circuit to the catalyst. only conducts positively charged ions. where they can recombine with the hydrogen ions and oxygen to form water. has several jobs. The catalyst is a special material that facilitates the reaction of oxygen and hydrogen.
it splits into two H+ ions and two electrons. on the cathode side of the fuel cell. The gas is forced through the catalyst by the pressure. When an H2 molecule comes in contact with the platinum on the catalyst. Constant improvements in the engineering and materials used in these cells have increased the power density to a level where a device about the size of a small piece of luggage can power a car. .ORKING The pressurized hydrogen gas (H2) entering the fuel cell on the anode side. To get this voltage up to a reasonable level. This reaction in an a single fuel cell produces only about 0.7V. The electrons are conducted through the anode. where it forms two oxygen atoms. oxygen gas(O2) is being forced through the catalyst. Meanwhile. which means they warm up quickly and do not require expensive containment structure. where they combine with an oxygen atom and two electrons form the external circuit to form a water molecule (H2O). where they make way through the external circuit and return to the cathode side of the furl cell. many separate fuel cells must be combined to form a fuel cell stock. PEMFCs operate at fairly low temperatures of about 80 degree C. This negative charge attracts the two H+ ions through the membrane. Each of these atoms have a strong negative charge.
CHEMISTRY OF FUEL CELLS REACTIONS: ANODE SIDE: 2H2 4H+ + 4eCATHODE SIDE: O2 + 4H+ +4e2H2O NET REACTION: 2H2 + O2 2H2O .
Methanol is a liquid fuel that has similar properties to gasoline. and you can¶t pull up to a hydrogen pump at your local gas. In fact. They generate heat and produce other gases besides hydrogen. Some of the more promising fuels are natural gas. The oxygen required for a fuel cell comes from the air. . in the PEM fuel cell. you don't have a hydrogen pipeline coming to your house. These fuels are more likely to be used for home fuel cells. It is easier to transport and distribute. and this lowers the efficiency of the fuel cell. but even so. Unfortunately. so it would be much more convenient if fuel cells could use fuel that are more readily available. Hydrogen is difficult to store and distribute. They use various devices to try to clean up the hydrogen. Hydrogen has some limitations that make it impractical for use in most applications. reformers are not perfect. so methanol may be a likely candidate to power fuel cell cars. propane and methanol.PROBLEMS WITH FUEL CELL A fuel cell uses oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity. ordinary air is pumped into the cathode. A device called REFORMER addresses this problem. For instance. A reformer turns hydrocarbon or alcohol fuels into hydrogen which is then fed to the fuel cells. the hydrogen that comes out of them is not pure.
That is. . When we add reformer to convert methanol to hydrogen. those parts of the car will be ignored and the efficiency compared up to the point where mechanical power is generated. The electric energy should be converted into mechanical work. it will be seen how fuel cells might improve the efficiency of cars today. the overall efficiency drops to about 30 to 40%. The electric inverter and motor accomplish this. It is important to remember that pollution reduction is one of the primary goals of the fuel cell. Fuel cell powered electric car: If the fuel cell is powered with pure hydrogen. A reasonable number for the efficiency of the motor/inverter is about 80%. A fuel cell powered car is compared to a gasoline engine powered car and a battery powered car. But hydrogen is difficult to store in a car. it converts 80% of the energy content of the hydrogen into electric energy. This gives an overall efficiency of about 24 to 32%. Since all the cars have many of the same components. it has the potential to be up to 80% efficient.EFFICIENCY OF FUEL CELLS In this section. We have 30 to40% efficiency at converting methanol to electricity and 80% efficiency converting electricity to mechanical power.
So the overall efficiency of an automotive gas engine is about 20%. . It is generated at a power plant that uses combustion process. The battery is about 90% efficient and that of electric motor/inverter is about 80%. The engine also uses a lot of energy turning various pumps. The process of charging the car requires the conversion of alternating current power to direct current power. fans and generators that keep it going. The process has an efficiency of about 90%. All the heat that comes out as exhaust or goes into the radiator is wasted energy. only 20% of the thermal energy content of the gasoline is converted into mechanical work. then only about 40% of the fuel required by the power plant is converted into electricity. The electricity used to power the car has to be generated somewhere. Battery powered electric car: This type of car has fairly high efficiency. That is. This gives an overall efficiency of about 72%.Gasoline powered car: The efficiency of gasoline powered car is surprisingly low.
So. then it is basically free( no fuel is burned). the efficiency of an electric car is 72%. Efficiency is not the only consideration however. and the efficiency of the electric car is about 65%. 40% for the power plant and 90% for charging the car. by looking at the whole cycle. If the electricity for the car is generated by a hydroelectric power plant. That gives and overall efficiency of 26%. The overall efficiency varies considerably depending on what sort of power plant is used. . Other issues are important such as: Is the car quick and easy to refuel? How much pollution does it produce? Can it travel a good distance before refueling? In the end the technology that dominates will be a compromise between efficiency and practicality. This points out the importance of considering the whole system. People will not drive a car just because it is efficient. not just the car.
It is also very expensive.OTHER TYPES OF FUEL CELLS There are several other types of fuel cell technologies being developed for possible commercial uses : - ALKALINE FUEL CELL(AFC) : This is one of the oldest designs. PHOSPHORIC ACID FUEL CELL(PAFC) : The PAFC cells have potential for use in small stationary power generation systems. so it has longer warm up time. so it requires pure hydrogen and oxygen. space programs since 1960s. This makes it unsuitable for use in cars. so this type of fuel cells are unlikely to be commercialized.S. It operates at higher temperatures than PEM fuel cells. It has been used in the U. The AFC is very susceptible to contamination. .
This high temperature makes reliability a problem. it has also an advantage that is the steam produced by the fuel cell can be channeled into turbines to generate more electricity. so they also generate steam that can be used to generate more power. This type of fuel cell operates at very high temperature of about 1000 degree C. SOLID OXIDE FUEL CELL(SOFC) : These fuel cells are best suited for large scale stationary power generators that could provide electricity for factories or towns. This makes the design less expensive. MOLTEN CARBONATE FUEL CELL(MCFC) : These fuel cells are best suited for large stationary power generators. which means they don¶t need exotic materials. This improves the overall efficiency of the system. They operate at 600 degree C. They have lower operating temperature than SOFC. .
Other companies have to do away with the reforms completely by designing advanced storage devices for hydrogen. fuel calls can be used in a number of applications such as : - AUTOMOBILES Fuel cell powered cars will replace gas and diesel engine cars in near future. Most likely a fuel cell car will be filled up with methanol. and it can be recharged quickly with a liquid or gaseous fuel.APPLICATIONS OF FUEL CELLS As it is specified. General Motors (GM) are the leading automaker right now that funds related research and implementation of fuel cell automobiles. but some companies are working on gasoline reforms. . In these applications fuel cell will provide much longer life than a battery would. cell phones and hearing aids.. PORTABLE POWER Fuel cells also make sense for portable electronics like laptops. A fuel cell car will be very similar to an electric car but with a fuel cell and reformer instead of batteries.
about one third of the bus was filled with fuel cell and fuel cell equipment. General Electric (GE) is going to offer a fuel cell generator system made by plug power. . The bus was one of the first applications of the fuel cell because initially. BUSES Fuel cell powered buses are already running in several cities. so it is possible that the system could heat your water and help to heat your house without using additional energy. In the first fuel cell bus. This system will use a natural gas or propane reformer and produce up to 7KW of power. Now the power density has increased to the point that a bus can run on a much smaller fuel cell. fuel cells needed to be quite large to produce enough power to run a vehicle. HOME POWER GENERATION This is a promising application that a person may be able to order or use in near future. A system like this produces electricity and significant amount of heat.
but will also use the heat and water generated in the cell to power steam turbines and generate even more electricity. LARGE POWER GENERATION Some fuel cell technologies have the potential to replace conventional power plants. They are already large portable fuel cell systems available for providing back up power to hospitals and factories. . The fuel cell technologies being developed for these power plants will develop electricity directly from hydrogen in the fuel cell. Large fuel cells will be able to generate electricity more efficiently than today¶s power plants.
BALLARD FUEL CELL : Ballard delivers fuel cell modules and engines to automotive customers who are developing. According to the developers. it only needs to be refueled. has developed a fuel cell powered mountain bike that uses hydrogen and air as fuel and emits only water vapor as waste product. the hydro cycle has a top range of 70100Km along a flat surface and can attain a top speed of 30Kmph. This would come as an advantage to electric bike riders who wait hours to recharge their battery powered bicycles. as there is no system of hydrogen refueling stations in place. However. building and testing fuel cell vehicle prototype for demonstration and fleet applications. the hydro motor is extremely quiet and does not needs to be recharged like existing electric bicycles. Because a fuel cell stack powers its electric motor. the hydro cycle will come with inconvenience of its own. .CURRENT SCENARIO IN DEVELOPMENT OF FUEL CELLS FUTURE BICYCLE : Manhattan Scientifics Inc. Ballard¶s customers are some of the largest car and bus manufacturers in the world.
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