An Overview of Fuel Cell

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Afuel cell is like a battery in that it generates electricity from anelectrochemical reaction. Both batteries and fuel cells convert chemicalpotential energy into electrical energy and also, as a by-product of thisprocess, into heat energy. However, a battery holds a closed store of energywithin it and once this is depleted the battery must be discarded, or rechargedby using an external supply of electricity to drive the electrochemicalreaction in the reverse direction. Afuel cell, on the other hand, uses an external supply of chemical energy andcan run indefinitely, as long as it is supplied with a source of hydrogen and asource of oxygen (usually air). The source of hydrogen is generally referred toas the fuel and this gives the fuel cell its name, although there is nocombustion involved. Oxidation of the hydrogen instead takes placeelectrochemically in a very efficient way. During oxidation, hydrogen atomsreact with oxygen atoms to form water; in the process electrons are releasedand flow through an external circuit as an electric current.

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