A hydrogen fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. Fuel cells are different from traditional batteries in they require a continuous source of fuel (hydrogen) and oxidizing agent (oxygen) to operate. Hydrogen fuel cells are widely promoted as a cost-effective and environmentally responsible alternative to energy produced by burning fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal.
A Short History Of The Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The first fuel cell, a “gas battery“, was developed in 1839 by Sir William Grove, a British attorney and amateur scientist. Although a successful experiment, it was impractical, generating only 1 volt and suffering from electrode corrosion issues. The first practical fuel cell wasn’t developed until the early 1950s, when chemical engineer Francis Bacon produced an alkaline-based fuel cell, significantly increasing electrical output and solving the corrosion problem. By the mid-1960s, rapid advances in fuel cell technology were achieved, allowing for a 1.5 kW fuel cell to be deployed in the Apollo spacecraft.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells In The News
Jill is the Renewable Energy editor at Electric Guide and writes about the world-wide transition from fossil fuels to sustainability. With a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the Samueli School at UCI and having campaigned extensively for federal subsidization of affordable green housing, Jill is uniquely qualified to discuss the rapidly evolving renewables industry. Jill also writes for our sister publication Wear.guide.
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