AN_INTRODUCTION_TO_FUEL_CELLS_AND_HYDROGEN_TECHNOLOGY

AN_INTRODUCTION_TO_FUEL_CELLS_AND_HYDROGEN_TECHNOLOGY - AN...

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AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY Brian Cook Heliocentris 3652 West 5th Avenue Vancouver, BC V6R-1S2 Canada December 2001
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AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY ii TABLE OF CONTENTS An Introduction to Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technology 1. What is a fuel cell?. ................................................................................................................. 1 2. History of fuel cells. ................................................................................................................ 2 2.1 The “Gas Battery” . ......................................................................................................... 2 2.2 The “Bacon fuel cell”. .................................................................................................... 4 2.3 Fuel cells for NASA. ...................................................................................................... 5 2.4 Alkaline fuel cells for terrestrial applications . ............................................................... 6 2.5 The PEM fuel cell. .......................................................................................................... 7 2.5.1 Ballard Power . ....................................................................................................... 7 2.5.2 Los Alamos National Laboratory . ......................................................................... 8 3. Fuel cell applications . ............................................................................................................. 8 3.1 Transportation . ............................................................................................................... 8 3.2 Distributed power generation. ...................................................................................... 10 3.2.1 Grid-connect applications. ................................................................................... 11 3.2.2 Non-grid connect applications. ............................................................................ 11 3.3 Residential Power. ........................................................................................................ 12 3.4 Portable Power. .................................................................................................... 14 3.4.1 Direct methanol fuel cells for portable power . .................................................... 16 4. The science of the PEM fuel cell . ......................................................................................... 17 4.1 The Chemistry of a Single Cell . ................................................................................... 17 4.2 The Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM). ................................................................ 19 4.3 Cell Voltage and Efficiency . ........................................................................................ 20 5. Direct methanol fuel cell. ...................................................................................................... 22 6. Where will the hydrogen come from?. .................................................................................. 22 6.1 Reformation of hydrocarbon fuels. ............................................................................... 23 6.2 Renewable Energy Systems . ........................................................................................ 24 6.3 Biological Methods . ..................................................................................................... 25 7. Benefits and obstacles to the success of fuel cells and the development of a hydrogen-based economy. ........................................................................................................................................ 25 7.1 Benefits. ........................................................................................................................ 25 7.2 Obstacles . ..................................................................................................................... 26 8. Conclusion . ........................................................................................................................... 27 9. References. ............................................................................................................................ 27 9.1 Internet sources. ............................................................................................................ 28 10. Aknowledgements . ........................................................................................................... 28 11. About the Author. ............................................................................................................. 28
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AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY iii FIGURES FIGURE 1. Trends in the use of fuels. As fuel use has developed through time, the percentage of hydrogen content in the fuel has increased. .................................... 2 FIGURE 2. The principle of an electrolyzer. ............................................................................ 3 FIGURE 3. Grove’s ‘gas battery’ (1839) produced a voltage of about 1 volt, and Grove’s ‘gas chain’ powering an electrolyzer (1842). ................................................................ 3 FIGURE 4. Bacon’s laboratory, at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Cambridge University (1955). .................................................................................................. 4 FIGURE 5. NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter fuel cell. . ................................................................ 5 FIGURE 6. Two prototype automobiles powered by fuel cells, the NECAR 5 and JEEP Commander, from DaimlerChrysler. ..................................................................... 9 FIGURE 7. A fuel-cell distributed power plant. . ................................................................... 12 FIGURE 8. A fuel-cell power plant for residential applications provides 7 kilowatts heat and electricity, enough power for a modern energy efficient home. .......................... 13 FIGURE 9. A prototype portable fuel cell provides 50 watts electrical power. . ................... 14 FIGURE 10. Graphs comparing the energy density of compressed hydrogen (3000 psi) versus lithium-ion and lead acid batteries. ...................................................................... 15 FIGURE 11. A prototype direct methanol fuel cell used as a lithium battery charger provides up to 20 watts electrical power. . ......................................................................... 17 FIGURE 12. Diagram of a single PEM fuel cell. ...................................................................... 18 FIGURE 13. Chemical structure of a PEM fuel cell membrane. Long chains of PTFE (Teflon®) with side chain ending with sulphonic acid (HSO 3 )........................... 20 FIGURE 14. Close-up of a PEM fuel cell membrane. . ............................................................ 20 FIGURE 15. Graph comparing carbon dioxide emissions of cars, using different types of fuel sources. ................................................................................................................ 23 FIGURE 16. Electrical power from renewable energy sources. ............................................... 24
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AN INTRODUCTION TO FUEL CELLS AND HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGY by Brian Cook, Heliocentris (Vancouver, Canada) Whereas the 19 th
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