How are hydrogen fuel cells made? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
A hydrogen fuel cell is an electrochemical power generator that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with water and heat as by-products. A fuel cell is composed of three main components: an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte membrane. The “magic” of the PEM fuel cell is its proton exchange membrane, which looks like a piece of construction paper. It works by passing hydrogen through the anode side and oxygen through the cathode side. At the anode site, the hydrogen molecules are split into electrons and protons. The protons pass through the electrolyte membrane, while the electrons are forced through a circuit, generating an electric current and excess heat. At the cathode, the protons, electrons, and oxygen combine to produce water molecules. Fuel cells are very clean, with the only by-products of electricity creation being a little heat and water. Additionally, as HFCs do not have any moving parts, they operate very quietly.
It’s worth noting- it is possible to use both the heat and water by-products for additional functions. For example, current Plug Power GenDrive customers use the excess water in their floor scrubbers and for landscape hydration.
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