How does a hydrogen fuel cell works?

Though most people hadn’t even heard of a hydrogen fuel cell a handful of years ago, their increasingly widespread use as a component of decarbonization projects means that it is becoming an everyday concept. That said, while people have now heard of them, few understand just how they work.

Hydrogen has been in use for many years, particularly in the electronics, chemicals, glass and metalworking industries, but also in the space sector as a rocket fuel. Hydrogen can also be used for heat production, transport, or to store energy for later conversion to electricity. It has a very promising part to play in decarbonising many sectors and contributing to the energy transition.

A hydrogen fuel cell produced electricity through the combination of H2 and oxygen atoms. The reaction occurs between the two types of atoms across an electrochemical cell, not unlike the way a battery works. The outcome is electricity, water, and some heat, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

hydrogen fuel cell

These units aren’t anything new, despite the fact that they have only recently been making regular headlines. In fact, they are used for powering spacecraft electrical systems. They are also used for powering many systems back on Earth as well. For instance, smaller versions have been created to power devices such as phones and laptops.

H2 is the energy carrier that is converted directly into electricity with low power losses and high efficiency. That said, the H2 can be transported and stored until it is needed, unlike the electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. That said, those types of renewable energy can be used to power green hydrogen production, so that the H2 can later be used for electricity production on demand.

So, how does a hydrogen fuel cell generates electricity?

  • A hydrogen fuel cell generates electricity by combining hydrogen (H2) and oxygen atoms across an electrochemical cell. This reaction produces electricity, water, and a small amount of heat.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells have been used for powering spacecraft electrical systems and various applications on Earth for quite some time. They are now gaining more attention as a component of decarbonization projects.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells are being developed and tested for a wide range of applications, including powering cars, data centers, phones, laptops, and even emergency power in remote locations without access to the grid.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell requires a supply of molecular hydrogen (H2) to react with oxygen. H2 acts as the energy carrier that is directly converted into electricity with high efficiency and minimal power losses.

Also read on Hydrogen Fuel News

UH2 projects

Our work with hydrogen

UH2 works with solutions for production of green hydrogen, through electrolysis with zero carbon emissions, to then be stored and distributed, so it can be used to heat buildings, manufacture steel or go into fuel cells for trucks and ships.

Able to provide the full project needs, we strive to add value through rapid acquisitions in strategic locations, implementing ongoing technology improvements and innovative solutions, as well as creating bankable value chains.

We are currently developing H2 and NH3 projects in Canada, Sweden, Spain, Portugal and Brazil.

Check out our project here.

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