Advantages And Disadvantages Of Fuel Cells Pdf


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A fuel cell, uses an external supply of chemical energy and can run indefinitely, as long as it is supplied with a source of hydrogen and a source of oxygen usually air.

Hydrogen is the simplest element because it consists of a single electron and proton. That means it is also the most plentiful element that we know of in the universe today. We always have it combined with other elements to create something new.

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Benefits and Disadvantages

School Chemistry notes: Describing and explaining how fuel cells work. What is a fuel cell? How do fuel cells work? See also Simple electrochemical cells batteries. The principles of fuel cells are explained with particular attention to the hydrogen—oxygen fuel cell. Fuel cells have to be supplied by an external source of fuel e. The hydrogen or any other fuel is oxidised electrochemically inside the fuel cell to produce a potential difference i. The overall chemical reaction in a hydrogen fuel electrochemical cell involves the oxidation of hydrogen by oxygen to produce only water.

Hydrogen fuel cells offer an alternative to rechargeable cells and batteries. A fuel cell will produce a potential difference 'voltage' and a workable electric current until one of the reactants is used up.

Hydrogen gas can be used as fuel. It burns with a pale blue flame in air reacting with oxygen to be oxidised to form water. The hydrogen - oxygen fuel cell is non-polluting, since only water is produced. But know how to think of it in terms of bond breaking and bond making. The oxidation of the fuel and reduction of the oxidant reactions take place on electrodes see simplified diagram on right, all is fully explained further down the page.

Fuel cells essentially a device to release the chemical potential energy of combustible fuels as electrical energy at a much lower temperature and without the flame! So, the idea of a hydrogen—oxygen fuel cell is to release the energy from hydrogen reacting with oxygen, not as heat as in normal combustion in air, but as useful electrical energy i.

Hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells are much efficient than conventional power stations or batteries e. With a fuel cell there are fewer stages in producing the useful energy, so there is less opportunity to lose potentially useful energy e. A hydrogen—oxygen fuel cell is a non—polluting clean fuel since the only combustion product is water.

Fuel cells do not produce pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides - gases you get from fossil fuel combustion in power stations or burnt road vehicles.. Cars powered by fuel cells would be quite an environmental advantage in cities, where electric cars are already beginning to be significantly used in developed countries. Fuel cells could replace larger batteries which are not easily recycled and contain highly toxic metal compounds.

It would be an ideal fuel on this basis e. It would be ideal if the hydrogen fuel could be manufactured by electrolysis of water e. Hydrogen can be used to power fuel cells. It all sounds wonderful BUT, still technological problems to solve for large scale manufacture and distribution of 'clean' hydrogen gas or use in generating electricity AND its rather an inflammable explosive gas! See fuel survey and alternative fuels like biofuels Fuel cells are 'battery systems' in which two reactants can be continuously fed in.

They must undergo an oxidation—reduction redox reaction. The consequent redox chemistry produces a working current e. Fuel cells have the big advantage of not requiring charging up, as long as you keep on supplying the fuel and oxidant.

The motor vehicle industry is looking at fuel cell cars, but lately electric cars with better quality modern battery technology and convenient charging facilities seem to be more in the news. Plus points in favour of using fuel cells in cars and other road vehicles — advantages Batteries are more expensive to make than fuel cells. Fuel cells do not produce the usual pollutants like sulfur oxides acid rain , nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide harmful gases from traffic pollution. Fuel cells don't involve any moving parts like most power generators - no energy lost by friction.

Unless an organic fuel like a hydrocarbon or an alcohol is used, there will be no greenhouses gases like carbon dioxide, because hydrogen combustion only produces harmless water. Neither do you produce harmful and polluting gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and hydrocarbon particulates and the global warming gas carbon dioxide,. Fuel cells could be used in countries with little oil and make them less dependant on costly imported oil. Hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells create water and since the hydrogen will have to be made from abundant water supplies in the long run, it is effectively a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels like petrol or diesel.

Fuel cells are much more efficient than fossil fuel power stations or costly chemical batteries etc. Fossil fuels are a finite supply , whereas if we can get hydrogen from water, and the air has lots of oxygen, there is effectively, if not practical at the moment, an infinite supply of fuel.

Maybe in the long—run we can get rid of polluting fossil fuelled road vehicles and batteries containing harmful chemicals e. Although current electric cars are improving in the design, the batteries are very costly can only be recharged a limiting number of times before requiring replacement. Batteries also store less energy than fuel cells which still have to be 're-fuelled'. Batteries are more expensive to make than fuel cells.

AND fuel cells have found use in spacecraft e. Fuel cells can provide a convenient source of electrical power in the space industry. Fuel cells can be made reasonably lightweight and compact saving both space and weight. Hydrogen and oxygen may be used from the fuel tanks of spacecraft. Fuel cells do not have moving parts which could go wrong.

The final product is water, which could be used as drinking water, reducing the initial payload in the spacecraft. Since water is the only product from a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell, there are no waste pollution products to deal with. BUT: Issues over the use of fuel cells in transport systems or as a major energy resource — disadvantages There are always disadvantages in most new technologies. You need a large scale hydrogen production system - not ready yet!

Hydrogen can be made from electrolysis, but you need a lot renewable sourced electricity. Fuel cells cannot be used for large—scale energy production, so conventional fossil fuel or nuclear power stations still have an important future.

Hydrogen is a gas and requires a much larger storage volume compared to fossil fuels like petrol. Safe storage is an issue, especially as it would be stored under high pressure to decrease the storage space required. This immediately makes leaks and accidents more likely to happen because hydrogen is a highly flammable and explosive gas — too easily ignited, remember the 'squeaky pop' lit splint test for hydrogen!

There is no efficient means of mass producing hydrogen. Efficient large scale technology is not yet developed to produce hydrogen on a large scale eg from electrolysis using solar power electricity — photovoltaic power system, wind turbines or hydroelectric power.

Although water is cheap and plentiful, it requires expensive electrical energy to electrolyse water to split it into hydrogen and oxygen.

Electrolysis of acidified water is expensive because electricity is expensive and much is still made from fossil fuels - though this is now decreasing as more solar and wind farms con stream as renewable sources of electricity.

You would need large scale electrolysis plants and then devise safe means of storing and delivering the hydrogen gas to where its needed. Not only that, most electricity in the world is still generated from burning fossil fuels! AND most hydrogen used in industry is made from fossil fuel hydrocarbons, which won't last forever.

Other disadvantages: Apart from the fact that the electrode catalysts are costly, disposing of used cells has its problems e. More on h ydrogen's potential use in fuel and energy applications includes powering vehicles, running turbines or fuel cells to produce electricity, and generating heat and electricity for buildings and very convenient for remote and compact situations like the space shuttle. They are more practical and robust than solar cell panels and definitely safer than small nuclear power units.

When hydrogen is the fuel, the product of its oxidation is water, so this is potentially a clean non—polluting and non—greenhouse gas? Most fuel cells use hydrogen, but alcohols and hydrocarbons can be used.

A fuel cell works like a battery but does not run down or need recharging as long as the 'fuel' supply is there. It will produce electricity and heat as long as fuel hydrogen is supplied.

The electrons go through an external circuit, creating a flow of electricity e. In both acid or alkaline hydrogen—oxygen fuel cells, oxygen is the oxidising agent oxidant, gets reduced and hydrogen fuel, gets oxidised is the reducing agent. The hydrogen is fed into the anode compartment and the oxygen into the cathode compartment.

The oxidation of the fuel hydrogen at the anode electrode provides electrons that flow round via some device e. So you have simultaneous oxidation and a reduction, therefore overall a redox reaction.

In an alkaline hydrogen—oxygen fuel cell, the construction is quite similar, but it is hydroxide ions OH — that migrate in the potassium hydroxide solution electrolyte. Each cell only produces a small voltage typically 0. The two gases are stored, and when extra electricity or heat needed, the fuel cell can then be re—run using the stored gaseous fuel.

This is called a regenerative fuel cell system. You can use solar energy from external panels on the space shuttle to do this, and use the fuel during the 'darkness of night'. Example 1. In the electrode equations I have included the 'subscripted' state symbols aq , g and l where appropriate. This acid hydrogen—oxygen fuel cell uses porous carbon and costly platinum electrode catalysts. The electrolyte solution here is phosphoric acid, H 3 PO 4 The electrode equations for an acid hydrogen—oxygen fuel cell are The electrons generated by reaction 1.

But, as in electrolysis, you still get reduction at the cathode and oxidation at the anode. Example 2. You can also run a hydrogen—oxygen fuel cell with an alkaline electrolyte [e.

Again, the overall equation is same as the normal combustion equation by adding equations 1. Example 3 for more advanced level chemistry students. The diagram on the right shows the same arrangement for a fuel cell, as for hydrogen, but you can use an organic fuel like an alcohol e. The overall cell reactions are Simple cells batteries. Electrolysis of acidified water dilute sulfuric acid and some sulfate salts and alkalis 3. Electrolysis of sodium chloride solution brine and bromides and iodides 4.

18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction. Every fuel cell has two electrodes, one positive and one negative, called, respectively, the anode and cathode. The reactions that produce electricity take place at the electrodes. Image Courtesy : 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. One great appeal of fuel cells is that they generate electricity with very little pollution—much of the hydrogen and oxygen used in generating electricity ultimately combine to form a harmless by-product, namely water.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydrogen Energy

Hydrogen technologies have experienced cycles of excessive expectations followed by disillusion. Nonetheless, a growing body of evidence suggests these technologies form an attractive option for the deep decarbonisation of global energy systems, and that recent improvements in their cost and performance point towards economic viability as well. This paper is a comprehensive review of the potential role that hydrogen could play in the provision of electricity, heat, industry, transport and energy storage in a low-carbon energy system, and an assessment of the status of hydrogen in being able to fulfil that potential. The picture that emerges is one of qualified promise: hydrogen is well established in certain niches such as forklift trucks, while mainstream applications are now forthcoming.

School Chemistry notes: Describing and explaining how fuel cells work.

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One potential solution is hydrogen energy, but while it does not harm our atmosphere, it is not necessarily a simple fix. Here we explore the key advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen energy and how it could theoretically be used to power our future. Hydrogen is found in almost all plant matter and water. Hydrogen is the most simple of all our elements being made up of just one proton and one electron. However, hydrogen is a clean source of energy which, if we can extract it from water, natural gas or biomass, can be used to power and heat our societies. Find out more about the viability of using hydrogen instead of natural gas in our boilers in Hydrogen Boilers: An Alternative to Gas Central Heating? Electrolysis involves passing a high current of electricity through water to separate the oxygen and hydrogen atoms.

A solid oxide fuel cell or SOFC is an electrochemical conversion device that produces electricity directly from oxidizing a fuel. Fuel cells are characterized by their electrolyte material; the SOFC has a solid oxide or ceramic electrolyte. Advantages of this class of fuel cells include high combined heat and power efficiency, long-term stability, fuel flexibility, low emissions, and relatively low cost.

Solid oxide fuel cell

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Countries all over are considering cleaner and sustainable sources of power. The faster adoption of renewable technologies, electric vehicles are big examples in this regard. Another technology that is gaining traction worldwide is fuel cell technology. Fuel Cell technology uses hydrogen and oxygen to make water and in the process also generate electricity. It is much like a battery but does not require any external charging. Fuel cells are being used essentially in the vehicle industry.

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Fuel Cell: Advantages and Disadvantage of Fuel Cell

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