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Fuel Cells - Essay Example

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The following essay deals with the nature of fuel cells. It is stated that in science, a fuel cell is defined as a device that can convert chemical energy using oxidizing agents. Hydrogen acts as the basic fuel, although fuel cells require oxygen as well. …
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Fuel Cells
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"Fuel Cells"

Download file to see previous pages The fuel cell is designed such that a proton-conducting polymer membrane separates the anode and the cathode. On the anode electrode, hydrogen diffuses to the anode catalyst, and it later dissociates into protons and electrons. The protons will react with oxygen molecules at the cathode side, infusing via the polymer electrolyte membrane as well as the electrons coming through the outer circuit to make water molecules. The protons are conducted through the membrane to the cathode while the electrons travel through an external circuit since the covering is insulated electrically. The reaction on the cathode electrode involves oxygen molecules and both the electrons and the protons (Scherer 35).
Phosphoric acid fuel cell
In this type of cell, hydrogen ions are passed to the cathode using phosphoric acid. These cells usually work at moderate temperatures. The relatively high temperatures cause a heat and energy loss if the heat is not removed and properly used. The heat can be turned into a useful source of energy for air conditioners and other thermal energy consuming systems (Onovwiona ans Ugursal 389). This property makes the phosphoric acid fuel cell more useful and improves the efficiency to about 80%. The anode electrode in this cell uses a platinum catalyst that accelerates the conversion of hydrogen into free ions and electrons are produced (Scherer 34). The electrons travel from the anode to the cathode cell through an external electrical circuit since phosphoric acid is a non-conducting electrolyte. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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