Fuel cells produce electricity through an electrochemical process.
Typical fuel cells are made up of three segments: Anode, electrolyte, and cathode.
Two chemical reactions occur within a fuel cell, the results of which are based on the fuel that is used for the energy system. The electrolyte that is used in a fuel cell is highly dependent on the type of fuel cell it is. If hydrogen is used as a fuel, the anode acts as a catalyst that is capable of turning the fuel into electrons and ions.
Next, the cathode converts the ions into the fuel cell’s waste produce, which is typically water vapor, while also using the electrons to generate an electric current.
For years, fuel cells have been used as industrial power systems. Since about 1980, hydrogen fuel cells have been growing in popularity in the auto industry. Most of the world’s major automakers are now planning to commercialize hydrogen-powered vehicles that are equipped with small, yet powerful fuel cells. Backed by the interest of the auto industry, fuel cells are also beginning to enter into other industries and finding more support as a residential energy system.
This short video about the Toyota Mirai explains how a fuel cell engine works…
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