Fundamentals, Characteristics and Applications of Fuel Cells
Energy is central to achieving the interrelated economic, social and environmental aims of sustainable human development. The generation of energy by clean, efficient and environmental-friendly means is now one of the major challenges for engineers and scientists. This paper focuses on energy-related solution to global warming, air pollution mortality and energy security. However, it provides a review on fuel cell technology with a focus on fundaments, types and applications of fuel cells. Fuel cells are electrochemical devices which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. A fuel cell is composed of three active components: a fuel electrode (anode), an oxidant electrode (cathode), and an electrolyte sandwiched between them. Water and thermal management are key areas in the efficient design and operation of fuel cells. It was discovered that fuel cells have many inherent advantages over conventional combustion-based systems and such advantages among others are reduced harmful emissions, high efficiency, less pollution, fuel flexibility, excellent load response, high thermodynamic efficiency, modularity and scalability, quiet and static nature, water and cogeneration applications and wide range of applications. Hence, fuel cells make a valuable contribution to future power generation facilities. They improve the flexibility and increase the options for many applications, such as stationary power (emergency back-up power supply, remote-area power supply (RAPS), distributed power/combined heat and power (CHP) generation), transportation applications (auxiliary power units (APUs), Light traction vehicles (LTVs), aerial propulsion, marine propulsion) and portable applications (portable power generators, consumer electronics, portable military equipment, battery chargers, miniature toys, kits and gadgets). It is concluded that fuel cells are attractive, efficient and effective options for stationary building applications because of their high electrical efficiency, low emissions, silent operation and flexibility of fuel use.
Energy Security, Sustainable, Global Warming, Air Pollution Mortality, CO2 Emission
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