Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Coverting Hyrdogen Into Electricity

Anatomy of a Fuel Cell

Flow plates along with PEM plates are the primary internal components to a fuel cell. These flow plates are usually constructed from graphite or a similar material.

The PEM plate (Proton Exchange Membrane) consists of a platinum catalyst applied to carbon cloth. Since platinum is an expensive rare earth metal, this is an area that is currently undergoing extensive research and development. The refinement of these materials in the coming years will be the key to even more efficient fuel cells at an affordable cost.

How This All Works

Fuel Cells work via chemical reactions that release energy (electrical charge) in the process. Hydrogen is run through a flow plate on one side of a fuel cell and Oxygen (or atmospheric air) is run through a flow plate on the opposite side. Between these plates is a material that blocks the negatively charged electrons of the H2 molecule but allows the positively charged protons to pass through the PEM. The negative charge is forced to travel through an electrical wire. This is how a fuel cell produces electric current. The negative charge then continues along the wire and is rejoined with the positive charge and Oxygen on the opposite side of the PEM . The end result is pure water.