How does a hydrogen fuel cell work?
In contrast to a traditional combustion engine, fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction. Fuel cells are made up of an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte membrane. Hydrogen atoms enter the fuel cell at the anode and are stripped of their electrons. Now positively charged, the hydrogen atom passes through the membrane to the cathode while the electrons are forced through a circuit to generate electricity. Finally, the electrons combine with protons and oxygen from the air and generate water and heat—two byproducts of fuel cells.
In fact, when pure hydrogen is used, the only byproducts of fuel cells are electricity, water, and heat. And, because they generate energy through an electrochemical process rather than combustion, they are much more efficient—meaning they produce more power from the same amount of fuel. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, current FCEVs can be refueled in as little as 4 minutes and have an average driving range of over 300 miles. Best of all, hydrogen fuel cell technology works well for all types of vehicles—from light-duty cars and trucks to heavy-duty 18-wheeler semi-trucks.
Is hydrogen fuel only used to power cars and trucks?
Fuel cells aren’t only used for vehicles; they have a wide array of applications from providing residential and commercial energy to performing as a stable source of electricity for hospitals, data centers, freezer warehouses, and other power-critical businesses. Yet it is their ability to provide power to vehicles that could make the greatest positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
The next step towards meeting lowered emission standards is making hydrogen fuel more accessible for vehicle owners. While auto manufacturers are on the fast track to get more FCEVs in the marketplace, there are less than 100 hydrogen-fueling stations in the United States, with 43 of those in California. Because hydrogen fuel can be produced on location using natural gas, water, and electricity, it’s easier than ever for existing fuel station owners to add this product to their mix.
Interested in learning more about hydrogen fuel technology?
PowerTap Hydrogen makes providing hydrogen fuel to consumers fast and easy. Our on-site fuel generators take up less than 1,000 square feet and only require access to natural gas, electricity, and city water supply. Visit our website or contact us to learn more and see how easy it is to get started.