des people essay 4 fuel cells

des people essay 4 fuel cells - Deniz Gorgun 11/14/07 Fuel...

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Deniz Gorgun 11/14/07 Fuel Cell Technology for the Future The basic operating principles of the fuel cells were discovered in 1839, by William Grove, by reversing the water electrolysis, to generate electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. A fuel cell is a device that uses chemical reactions to convert one form of energy to another. These devices use hydrogen as fuel, and generate pure water and power in return as long as the fuel is supplied Widespread implementation of the fuel cell technology could mostly be beneficial to the modern society in such a way that decreases pollution. Also it generates clean energy in a simple and highly reliable way. Thus it may be a good solution for the energy problem of the future world. When compared to internal combustion engines, which burn fossil fuels or natural gas, the fuel cells are far more efficient, since they generate clean energy with a minimum of waste. As the technology is still at the developing stage, more efforts put on the research of improving the current technology, will definitely make a difference for future energy issues. The technology behind this important invention is quite simple, the basic operation of the fuel cells is the reverse electrolysis, in which “electrical energy is produced, instead of heat energy being liberated” (Larminie 2003) The fuel, hydrogen, is oxidized into electrons and protons at the anode, and oxygen is reduced to oxidize hydrogen, in the cathode. As the oxidation/reduction takes place, the electrons that are
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liberated are conducted through an electrolyte, and generate a current. This is the most basic fuel cell system. In the more developed ones however, the electrolyte is replaced with a special plastic membrane, called the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM). 1 (see: Fig.1) When the fuel is supplied constantly, the current continues to flow, as “hydrogen and oxygen [combines] together to form water” (MIT 2007) as the only chemical product of the fuel cell. What makes a fuel cell a very desirable device in the energy generation field, is
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des people essay 4 fuel cells - Deniz Gorgun 11/14/07 Fuel...

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