The Benefits Of Fuel Cells As A Source Of Energy

2455 words - 10 pages

The Benefits of Fuel Cells as a Source of Energy

The purpose of this paper is to inform you why fuel cells are a good source of
energy. In principle a fuel cell operates like a battery. Unlike batteries fuel cells don't
run down or require recharging. In the first section the energy source will be defined
and described. The three sub-sections are; how they work, current us, and the future of
fuel cells. In the second section the two criteria chosen will be defined. The two criteria
are environmental friendliness and reliability. In the third and final section the two
chosen criteria will be applied to the energy source. To understand fuel cells you need to
know how they ...view middle of the document...

Fuel cells are a good energy source because
they are environmentally friendly and reliable despite being expensive.

In principle a fuel cell operate like a battery. Unlike batteries fuel cells don't run
down or require recharging. It will produce energy in the form of electricity as long as
fuel is supplied(Little, Authur). The main fuel of the cells is liquid hydrogen. On March
17,1999, DaimlerChrysler unveiled the NECAR 4, the first fuel powered car. The
compact car seats five passengers. Although DaimlerChrysler claims to lead the fuel cell
car industry, Ford Motor co. officials say they will have a driveable version of their five
seat compact car, the P2000, this spring.

In the first section the energy source will be defined and described. The three
sub-sections are; how they work, current us, and the future of fuel cells. In the second
section the two criteria chosen will be defined. The two criteria are environmental
friendliness and reliability. In the third and final section the two chosen criteria will be
applied to the energy source.

Section I.
To understand fuel cells you need to know how they work, how they are being
used today, and how they will be used in the future.
How they work.
In principle, a fuel cell operates like a battery. Unlike a battery, a fuel cell does not
run down or require recharging. It will produce energy in the form of electricity and heat
as long as fuel is supplied. A fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an
electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating
electricity, water, and heat. Hydrogen fuel is fed into the "anode" of the fuel cell. Oxygen
(or air) enters the fuel cell through the cathode. Encouraged by a catalyst, the hydrogen
atom splits into a proton and an electron, which take different paths to the cathode. The
proton passes through the electrolyte. The electrons create a separate current that can be
utilized before they return to the cathode, to be reunited with the hydrogen and oxygen in
a molecule of water (Little,Aurthur).
Current Use.
To understand fuel cells you need the current use and development. On March 17,
1999, DaimlerChrysler unveiled the NECAR 4, the first fuel cell powered car. The
compact car seats five passengers. Although DaimlerChrysler claims to lead the fuel cell
passenger car companies, who aims to market them by the year 2004, Ford Motor Co.
officials said they expect to have a driveable version of their five-seat fuel cell car, the
P2000, this spring.
Ferdinand Panik, head of DaimlerChrysler's fuel cell program, said the NECAR 4
was a breakthrough because the fuel cell technology was small enough to fit into a
compact car but there was still room to seat five passengers. The fuel cells were stacked
underneath the car's floor board and the liquid hydrogen tank took up some space in it's
small trunk (Associated Press).
The car...

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