Fuel cell technology has become more prevalent in the 21st century. So what exactly is a fuel cell and how does it work? In principle, a fuel cell operates like a battery. Unlike a battery, however, a fuel cell does not require recharging and will not run down. As long as hydrogen fuel is supplied, energy will be produced in the form of electricity and heat.
Fuel cells have many stationary, mobile, and transportation applications. In fact, more than 2500 fuel cell systems have been installed throughout the world, in hospitals, schools, office buildings, hotels, and more. These systems are either connected to the main electric grid in order to provide supplemental power and backup assistance, or installed as a separate generator for areas that are inaccessible by power lines. Cars, buses, scooters, trains, and other modes of transportation have been outfitted with fuel cell systems. Even in the world of Micro Power, which includes cell phones, laptops, and palm pilots, fuel cell technology has proven itself as an effective and efficient source of power.
The benefits of fuel cell systems are many and varied. A fuel cell system that runs on pure hydrogen produces zero emissions. Although some stationary systems use natural gas or hydrocarbons as a supplemental source, even these systems produce far less emissions than conventional power plants. Fuel cells also run extremely quite and contribute to a reduction in noise pollution. Vehicles that run on fuel cells are the least polluting of all vehicles that consume fuel directly. Since fuel cells do not burn fuel, they are fundamentally more efficient than combustion systems. The hydrogen that fuels these cells can also be produced domestically, helping to alleviate our nation's reliance on the import of foreign oil.
Learn more about fuel cells by visiting this website: www.fuelcells.org