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Fuel Cell Technology: Advantages and Disadvantages

2017-11-25 06:51  
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In this age of technology, there is a development in each and every minute in almost all the fields is one regard or the other. Such a great development in field of alternate energy is the Fuel cell. Fuel cell, in simple terms is, an electrochemical energy generating device. It has been one of the most fascinating and interesting aspects of today world’s technology. There are a lot of things that is yet to be developed in this field and also there is a huge scope and application for these Fuel Cells. These fuel cells are being under the research in many people all around the world.

Construction and Working:

There are many different types of fuel cells. But the basic construction and working of a fuel cell is same and the concept behind it is also the same. The Fuel cell works on the principle that energy is produced when some chemical reaction occurs. If this energy can be tapped, it can be converted into useful means. In a conventional fuel cells, the reaction occurs between hydrogen and oxygen and water is formed. This is the basic chemical reaction that occurs and energy produced by this is tapped through proper channels and used for several applications. It is the unique chemical reaction that is being the interest of many people. The by product is water and hence fuel cells are environmentally very safe to use.

The conventional fuel cell consists of a fuel chamber, an oxidant chamber and the reaction chamber. The fuel and oxidant react in the reaction chamber, which has an electrolyte and produce energy in form of small current. This current is tapped and used. Similar stakes of these set are connected in series to produce appreciable quantity of current.


Types and Applications:

Depending on the working conditions, electrolyte, quantity of energy produced, fuel cells can be divided into many types.They include types like metal hydride fuel cell, proton exchange fuel cell, alkaline fuel cells and so on. Of these, it is the Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells that is of main concern to many. It has the correct working temperature range, easy availability, simple construction of all other. Here a polymer membrane acts as the electrolyte and there is a Platinum catalyst to speed up the reaction. The major application of these fuel cells is the automotive industry. They are also used in several other fields as well, but this automobile industry is their major application.

Scope and Current Position:

There is a lot of scope for these fuel cells in many application. The current position of the fuel cell is that they are still in research stage. There are a lot of developments that have occurred over the time, but still, there are many scope for development. This can be well explained by citing a fact that there is not enough platinum left in the world that could meet the demands of all people. So there are research going on to see the availability of other materials.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

There are many advantages like its environment friendly working, easier installation, simple working mechanism and low maintenance. But it has some disadvantages as well. They are its cost, less life, rare availability of some elements in the cell and other technical difficulties that has made these great prospects still in development stage. It can be believed that at some day, they can be commercialized in a huge quantity and common man can have access to them.

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