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Technical definition and description - Essay Example

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Technological landscape has undergone tremendous changes over the last few decades, and resultantly modern people use highly advanced technologies to meet their daily needs. The current industrial world relies on various forms of energy to run their operations uninterruptedly…
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Technical definition and description
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Technical definition and description

According to a brief definition suggested by Chen, Hassan, and Yu; “a fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts chemical energy from a fuel into electrical energy” (58). A fuel cell generates electricity through chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant in the presence of an electrolyte. A notable feature of the fuel cell is that it can operate continuously as long as proper reactant and oxidant flows are maintained.
Fuel cells generate nonpolluting power, and they perform outstandingly in terms of efficiency. Since fuel cell have no moving parts, they product little noise. Fuel cells have been serving the energy needs of spacecrafts since 1960s on the strength of its ability to operate uninterruptedly. In spite of the recent advancements in the technology, fuel cells are still increasingly used in power generating plants and exhaust-free automobiles. The major difference between a batter and a fuel cell is that the former has a fixed supply of energy whereas the latter can generate energy continuously as long as the fuel is supplied.
Like a battery, a fuel cell is made up of a large number of individual cells that are collectively called a fuel cell stack. All these individual cells are comprised of an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte. In a fuel cell, anode is generally made of platinum because it can better catalyze the reaction ionizing the gas. When a hydrogen-rich fuel like renewable biogas or clean natural gas is supplied to the fuel cell stack, ‘it reacts with oxygen electrochemically to produce electric power, heat, and water’ (How do fuel cells work). Although different types of fuel cells operate a bit differently, basically they all work based on the same process. In a fuel cell, hydrogen atoms enter the anode where their electrons are stripped off through a chemical reaction. Thus, the hydrogen atoms become ionized, and resultantly they carry a positive charge. At the same time, the negatively ... Read More
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