How Hydrogen Fuel Cell will Change Future power Perspectives

What if you shift from your home village to a new city, a polluted one, What would be your concern? I would be most concerned about air quality. In the world's most polluted cities the air is darker, filled with poisonous fumes and gases from vehicles and factories. These harmful emissions made the entire city choke. Air pollution is one of the threats which kills the whole world slowly. All this news made me think about a pure alternative to fossil fuels which not only contaminates the environment but also causes a threat to humanity. 

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We need a shift to non-fossil fuels. For this transition a clean, pure fuel is necessary. The emission of pollutants should be zero. Is this possible? New physicist's vision is a 100 percent renewably powered Earth. The hydrogen fuel cell is a promising choice. When you come to know more about hydrogen fuel cells you can’t wait to build up a hydrogen economy. 

What is a hydrogen fuel cell? How does it work? 

Hydrogen fuel cell

Let us examine hydrogen fuel cells in detail. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the universe, which is already a well-known fact.  It is an outstanding energy carrier. The positive effects of hydrogen fuel on the environment make it more attractive. The hydrogen fuel cell is completely based on electrochemical conversions. 

Electrochemical cell

An electrochemical cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy or vice versa. When the input supplied is fuel then we can call it a fuel cell. The structure of a fuel cell is simple where input is a fuel and the output is pure electricity, which is our ultimate aim. 

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For any electrochemical cell the basic requirement is two electrodes, which are electronically conductive, and maintain contact through an electrolyte, with high ionic conductivity. One of the electrodes is an anode and the other cathode. The electrolyte layer helps in the transfer of positive ions, while electrons pass through the external circuit, which eventually produces power. Throughout the process, heat is produced. 

Working of Hydrogen fuel cell


In a hydrogen fuel cell, the most commonly used electrolyte is potassium hydroxide. On either side we have electrodes, negative anode being on the left and positive cathode on the right (opposite to electrolysis where the cathode is negative and anode positive). On the top, a wire is connected which allows the free flow of electrons from anode to cathode. 


Through the anode compartment, hydrogen gets into the cell and oxygen through the cathode compartment. Hydrogen which enters through the anode compartment gets oxidized by anode to the hydrogen ion, leaving electrons. These electrons through the wire reach the cathode, and hydrogen ion through electrolyte reaches cathode. The movement of electrons produces electricity. 

The hydrogen ion which reached the cathode combines with oxygen in the cathode compartment to form water. So, here the desired end product is pure electricity and water. No greenhouses gases, no pollutants, no carbon dioxide! This is all we need. 

Applications and Latest Developments of Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Now, after the explanation, you know how important is the fuel cell for us for setting up a cleaner economy. Understanding the process is futile if it is not applied in the right place for the right purpose. So, let us traverse through applications of hydrogen fuel cells and its latest developments.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered Laptop

Even if you have a high-speed network and high performing system and lacks an efficient power socket, everything will be in vain. Nowadays, a low charge is a nightmare for people especially those who cannot work without a laptop. Hydrogen fuel cells can help! Devices integrated with hydrogen fuel cells, help us from issues of power sockets.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered Mobile phone

Just imagine a day without a mobile phone. The information age cannot think of an hour without a mobile phone. Since this gadget is of prime importance, any new developments related to it make us curious. The latest developments show that a small amount of hydrogen can keep the phone active for weeks. As hydrogen fuel possesses high energy density, we can expect more expansion in this field.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered Drones

In this case, too, hydrogen fuel offers power. Drones usually need to be changed often. If we have a good power socket with hydrogen it lasts longer. The latest studies prove that using hydrogen fuel cells in drones can provide three times more endurance. This helps us to exploit a drone’s single flight more. It is a great option for drones especially when it flies through remote areas where reliable electricity is usually absent. So, we can say, without doubt, that hydrogen fuel cell is equal to longer flights and more productivity in case of drones.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Automobile

Hydrogen fuel cells altered this entire sector. Day by day, the number of vehicles on road is increasing. This eventually increases the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The byproduct of burning Fossil fuels, which are used to power vehicles, are poisonous for the living world. Anyway, thanks to the hydrogen fuel cell! This is a complete economic friendly whose byproducts are clean electricity and water and is three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered  Aircraft

You may be familiar with the word hydrogen aircraft or hydrogen plane. When an aircraft uses hydrogen as its main fuel it is called a hydrogen aircraft. Hydrogen fuel cells do wonders here. There are different ways by which we can use this efficient fuel in this sector. It can be used for direct internal combustion. Otherwise, we can make electricity out of the fuel which can eventually power the propeller. 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered Power backup

When the primary system which provides electricity is failed, power backup is our option. A hydrogen fuel cell is an excellent power backup application and the most famous. This is inevitable for computer systems at homes and other institutions. Hydrogen fuel cells of different sizes and types can be used for this purpose.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered  Military operations

Attractive applications of hydrogen fuel are visible in the field of the military. Instead of a battery, the military vehicle uses hydrogen fuel cells due to its high power, lightweight and more endurance. It helps the vehicle to run longer which is a boon. There are light-duty trucks which are powered by hydrogen fuel with comparatively low sound. Since hydrogen fuel is light in weight, it’s easy to carry them for military operations. All these are promising benefits of using hydrogen fuel cells in the military.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered Undersea vehicle

We have already seen the applications of hydrogen fuel in vehicles on road. Undersea vehicles are also enjoying the immense benefits of hydrogen fuel cells. Using a fuel cell increases the endurance, speed, and performance of these vehicles. It also offers silent running. 

Finally

Imagine yourself in a position, to select one option out of two. On one side you have fossil fuels that continuously release harmful agents into the atmosphere. And, on the other side hydrogen fuel cell which emits zero greenhouse gases, requires minimal maintenance, high efficiency, good reliability, silent and smooth energy production, pure electricity, and water as the only by-product. The choice is yours! 

This article is Written by Ashna George and proofread by New Physicist

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