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Fuel Cells in General
SOFC's in General
Appendix 1 - Fuel Cells in General
Fuel cells are devices which convert fossile fuel or hydrogen directly into electricity. They can be characterised by the following features:
For the near future fuel cells are seen as the logical way of continued use of fossile fuels both in a more efficient as in an environmental friendly way of electricity generation. In some types of fuel cells waste heat can also be used (co-generation) even more increasing fuel efficiency. For more general use a diversity of fuel cell types have been developed.
The types with the best chance for market introduction in the near future are:
1. SPFC or PEM
This type is based on a special type of polymer membrane, serving as the electrolyte. Because of the low operating temperature platinum has to be used as a catalyst.
This fuel cell operates at temperatures well under 100 ° C and uses extremely purified hydrogen as a feed, due to the contaminant sensitivity of the platinum.
This fuel cell type is currently considered for use in automobiles which resulted in a enormous development effort and financial impulse.
De hydrogen feed can be stored in a gas tank as a gas or liquefied state. For some applications this is not a favourable option. For mobile applications, the purified hydrogen could also be produced on-board from conventional fuels using a type of reformer, followed by two CO shift reactors and a (selective) oxidative CO trace removal, see also the rather complex flow sheet:
Optimisation of the efficiency of this rather complex gas pre-treatment, the water management in the cell and the reduction of the material and total equipment costs are currently a great challenge for the development of the SPFC/PEM.
For more general information on fuel cells link to :