How It Works A fuel cell is a device that takes stored chemical energy and converts it to electrical energy. Needs two types of fuel. Hydrogen Oxygen
Parts of a Fuel Cell Anode Cathode Electrolyte + Catalyst Hydrogen Gas Oxygen
Anode This is the negatively charged side of the fuel cell. Oxygen is pumped into this side Cathode Positively charged side of the fuel cell Hydrogen is pumped into this side Electrolyte Coated with a catalyst. A catalyst is a substance that increases a chemical reaction. Separator/Bi-Polar plate Used to collect the current To build the voltage
One O2 Molecule is supplied to the cathode which is then split by the catalyst into two oxygen atoms these two atoms both have a negative charge. One H2 Molecule us supplied to the anode which then is split by the catalyst into two hydrogen ions and two hydrogen electrons. The ions are attracted to the cathode because, it has negatively charged molecules. An the ions are able to pass through the electrolyte because, they are positively charged. How a current is made 1 2 3
4 The electrons can’t pass through the electrolyte because, they are negatively charged so they have to go through a different route this route goes out side of the fuel cell device. The flow of electrons through this other current can be used as electricity because a current is just a flow of electrons. So now we have a current that can be used to power something! Now they all combine in the cathode and become two H2O molecules (water). 5
THIS IS SO COOL!!!!! The best part is that since you put in two hydrogen molecules and two oxygen molecules you got two H2O molecules back. This means there was not waste! At all! The same amount of water that you put in is the same amount that you get back! Now that’s clean energy!
Negatively charged electrons can not go through the electrolyte so they have to go a separate route which creates a current because a current is just a flow of electrons which can then be used for electricity. Positively charged ion are being attracted by negatively charged O molecules.