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By Anji Reddy Thatiparthy 11011D8012 M.


Hydrogen Fuel Cells Basic Principles

(a) The electrolysis of water.

(b) The oxygen and hydrogen are recombining.

A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction. It has two electrodes, one positive(anode) and one negative(cathode).

2H 2 O2 2H 2O

Every fuel cell also has an electrolyte, which carries electrically charged particles from one electrode to the other, and a catalyst, which speeds the reactions at the electrodes. Hydrogen is the basic fuel, but fuel cells also require oxygen. Hydrogen and oxygen used in generating electricity ultimately combine to form a harmless byproduct, namely water. A single fuel cell generates a tiny amount of DC. In practice, many fuel cells are usually assembled into a stack. Cell or stack, the principles are the same.

hydrogen atoms enter at the anode, where chemical reaction strips them of their electrons. The hydrogen atoms are now ionized, and carry a positive electrical charge. The negatively charged electrons provide the current through wires to do work.

2H 2 4H 4e

Oxygen enters the fuel cell at the cathode and it combines with hydrogen ions.

O 2 4e 4H 2H 2O

The electrolyte must permit only the appropriate ions to pass between the anode and cathode.

How does fuel cells work?

The basic workings of a fuel cell may not be difficult to illustrate. But building inexpensive, efficient, reliable fuel cells is a far more complicated business. The other electrochemical device that, we are familiar is the battery. A battery has all of its chemicals stored inside, and it converts those chemicals into electricity too. This means that a battery eventually goes dead. With a fuel cell, chemicals constantly flow into the cell so it never goes dead -- as long as there is a flow of chemicals into the cell.

Since conversion of the fuel to energy takes place via an electrochemical process, not combustion. Pollution free. It is a clean, quiet and highly efficient process- two to three times more efficient than fuel burning. It will not run out, as long as fuel is supplied. Low cost.

Fuel Cells require highly purified hydrogen as a fuel. Researchers are developing a wide range of technologies to produce hydrogen economically from a variety of resources in environmentally friendly ways. Hydrogen is a secondary energy resource, meaning it must be made from another fuel. It can be produced from:
Fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal. Renewable resources, such as solar, water, wind and biomass.

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR THE HYDROGEN ECONOMY Australia Brazil Canada China European Commission France Germany India Italy Japan Korea New Zealand Norway Russian Federation Iceland United Kingdom United States

Alkali Molten Carbonate Phosphoric Acid Proton Exchange Membrane Solid Oxide

Compressed Hydrogen & Oxygen. A solution of potassium hydroxide in water as their electrolyte. Efficiency is about 70%. Operate @150 to 200o C. Output ranges from 300W- 5kW. Used in Apollo space craft. Expensive due to pure hydrogen Drawing of an alkali cell. & oxygen and their platinum electrode catalysts.

High-temperature compounds of salt carbonates as the electrolyte. Drawing of a molten carbonate cell Efficiency is about 60-80%. Operate at 650o C. Output ranges from 2MW- 100MW. Their nickel electrode-catalysts are inexpensive.

phosphoric acid as the electrolyte. Efficiency ranges from 40 to 80%. Operating 150 to 200o C. Output ranges from 200 kW-11 MW. Platinum electrode-catalysts are needed.

Drawing of phosphoric acid fuel cells.

polymer electrolyte in the form of a thin, permeable sheet. Efficiency is about 40 to 50%. operate at 80o C. output range from 50-250 kW. Fuels must be pure. Platinum catalyst is used on both sides of the membrane, raising costs. suitable for homes and cars.

use a hard, ceramic compound of metal oxides as electrolyte. Efficiency is about 60%. operate at 1,000o C. Output is up to 100 kW. Excess power can be generate with high temperature.

Drawing of a solid oxide cell

Cost 1. Gas diffusion layers, and bipolar plates make up 70 percent of a system's cost . 2. Fuel cell systems must cost $35/KW($73/KW). Remedy: Researchers must either decrease the amount of platinum needed to act as a catalyst or find an alternative. HYDROGEN Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. However, hydrogen does not naturally exist on earth. We need extract energy to extract hydrogen.

Infrastructure There must be a hydrogen generation and delivery infrastructure. This infrastructure might include pipelines, truck transport, fueling stations and hydrogen generation plants. Storage and Other Considerations In order to create a comparable result with a fuel cell vehicle, researchers must overcome hydrogen storage considerations, vehicle weight and volume, cost, and safety.

Research@IIT Delhi, Hydrogen Powered Three Wheeler

Description: The world's first hydrogen-powered three-wheeler, 'HyAlfa', was launched at the Pragati Maidan on 9th January 2012. United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) funded this project to a consortia consisting of IIT Delhi, Mahindra and Air Products (USA). The technical expertise was provided by Prof L.M.Das of Centre for Energy Studies. Based on IIT Delhi recommendations, Mahindra had developed hydrogen operated three wheelers for passenger and cargo versions vehicles which were launched at Pragati Maidan during Auto expo 2012, where a hydrogen refueling station has also been set up by Air products. Limited field trials in Pragati Maidan show that the hydrogen fueled three wheelers are giving around 85 km per kg of hydrogen consumption. Contact details: Prof L.M.Das Centre for Energy Studies

Promising technology Fuel cell is gaining much attention due to increasing concern on the environment in these days. The recent development of the technology can make significant changes in both the automobile industry and the energy industry in near future.

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