Hydrogen fuel cell

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The hydrogen fuel cell "combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water." [1]

[math] 2 H_2 + O_2 \to H_2O + heat [/math]

A brief idea of how the fuel cell works can be found at [2] or a picture can be fount at [3]. This web site gives a good picture of how the hydrogen fuel cell actually works.

Hydrogen as Fuel[edit | edit source]

Diatomic hydrogen has been used as a fuel by NASA, providing a water source for the crew with the pure water that is given off as an exhaust, [4]however pure Hydrogen does not occur on Earth. Hydrogen Fuel works well as an energy storage medium but is costly to produce.[5]

While there are some promising technologies Diatomic Hydrogen must be produced through either Hydrolysis, or chemical reactions that use reformed from hydrocarbons via Steam Reformation[6]. Both processes are inefficient when it comes to input energy versus the energy that is stored in the Hydrogen fuel.

Nanotechnology applied to the Hydrogen fuel cell[edit | edit source]

  • Hydrogen fuel cell are becoming more efficient by using single walled carbon nanotubes as shown in this web article investigated by Dr. Gerald Caneba and animated by Dr. Susan E. Hill from Michigan Tech.[7]
  • Fuel cells are also becoming more affordable through "Pt and Pt-Ru/Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites Synthesized in Supercritical Fluid as Electrocatalysts for Low-Temperature Fuel Cells" researched by Yuehe Lin from PNNL.[8]
  • Sadly, most of the hydrogen used in fuel cells is made using fossil fuels and thus are responsible for emittinggreenhouse gases. Hydrogen also must be stored at high psi for use as a fuel in vehicles. This leads to concerns about safety issues for consumers and re fueling stations. Many efforts are being made to increase the efficiency of hydrogen fuel production, one of which is research in nanotechnology for the production, storage, and use of hydrogen by lowering costs of catalysts and other necessary elements. [9].
  • The main membrane of the fuel cell,which blocks out elements other than hydrogen, is also an area in which nanotechnology can greatly improve the cell's efficiency. [10]

Do it yourself[edit | edit source]

For interesting web pages on building your own fuel cell, visit HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN FUEL CELL.

See Also:[edit | edit source]