Hydrogen Fuel Cells
From- Vipan Kumar
Mr. Akshay Agnihotri
Asst. Prof. EEdepartment
• Simplest element in universe- one proton and one
• Occurs naturally as a gas.
• Can be used to create energy through combustion or
use in fuel cells.
• Slightly soluble in water
• Highly explosive
Definition of Hydrogen
Definition of Fuel Cell
• Produces electricity through a chemical reaction, but
• Converts hydrogen and oxygen into water.
2H2 + O2 → 2H2O
• Operates much like a battery, except they don’t
require electrical recharging.
• Can generate power almost indefinitely, as long as
they have fuel to use.
What is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell?
•Hydrogen fuel cells (HFCs) are a type
of electrochemical cell.
•HFCs generate electricity by reduction
and oxidation reactions within the cell.
•They use three main components, a
fuel, an oxidant and an electrolyte.
•HFCs operate like batteries, although
they require external fuel.
•HFCs are a thermodynamically open
•HFCs use hydrogen as a fuel, oxygen
as an oxidant, a proton exchange
membrane as an electrolyte, and emit
only water as waste.
How do they work?
•Fuel (H2) is first transported to
the anode of the cell
•Fuel undergoes the anode
•Anode reaction splits the fuel
(a proton) and e-
•Protons pass through the
electrolyte to the cathode
•Electrons can not pass through
the electrolyte, and must travel
through an external circuit which
creates a usable electric current
•Protons and electrons reach the
cathode, and undergo the
Chemistry behind the technology
At the anode of the cell, a
powder) is used to
separate the proton from
the electron in the
At the cathode of the cell, a
second catalyst (nickel) is
used to recombine the
protons, electrons, and
oxygen atoms to form water.
Cathode half- reaction:
+ O2 + 4e-
In electrochemistry, the Eo
cell value (energy) of a fuel cell is equal to the Eo
of the cathode half-reaction minus the Eo
of the anode half-reaction. For a
hydrogen fuel cell, the two half reactions are shown above. So to calculate
the energy of one fuel cell, we need to subtract the anode energy from the
cathode energy. For a HFC, the Eo
cell = 0.68V – 0.00V which equals
Efficiency of Hydrogen Fuel Cell
• If the fuel cell is powered with pure hydrogen, it has the
potential to be up to 80-percent efficient.
• Honda's FCX concept vehicle reportedly has 60-percent
• Hydrogen fuel cells are very efficient compared to what we
Hydrogen Technology Development in
• Production of hydrogen by photo electrolysis of water
using solar energy.
• Production of hydrogen by blue green algae & by
certain bacterial species.
• Storage of hydrogen through metal hydride/non-metal
• Problems relating to utilization of hydrogen as a fuel,
i.e., developed for certain engines and fuel etc.
• Liquid hydrogen production, storage and utilization.
Uses of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
There are many different uses of fuel cells being utilized right now. Some of
these uses are:
•Power sources for vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses and even boats and
•Power sources for spacecraft, remote weather stations and military technology
•Batteries for electronics such as laptops and smart phones
•Sources for uninterruptable power supplies.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles
• A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is a type of electric vehicle that uses a fuel
cell instead of a battery to power the car.
• FCVs have a driving range similar to a vehicle with an internal combustion
engine – 250 to 400 miles per tank of fuel.
• FCVs are commercially available for lease, but hydrogen refueling
infrastructure does not exist yet in most parts of the country.
• California has a few stations in operation, and more under construction.
• Although the cost of hydrogen is more expensive than gasoline on an
energy equivalent basis, because the electric drive system is two to three
times more efficient than an internal combustion.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles
• The 2015 Toyota Mirai is one of the first hydrogen fuel cell
vehicles to be sold commercially. The Mirai is based on the
Toyota FCV concept car
• Honda FCX Clarity, a hydrogen fuel cell demonstration vehicle
introduced in 2008
Advantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
• It is readily available.
• It doesn’t produce harmful emissions.
• It is environmentally friendly.
• It can be used as fuel in rockets.
• It is fuel efficient.
• It is renewable.
Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
• H2 is difficult/expensive to produce, store and
• Fuels cells require pure fuel.
• Platinum catalysts are expensive and rare.
• Proton exchange membranes must be kept moist.
• Hydrogen fuel cell stacks are heavy.
Problems regarding Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Lack of hydrogen infrastructure
•Need for refueling stations
•Lack of consumer distribution system
Cost of hydrogen fuel cells
•2009 Department of Energy estimated $61/kw
•Honda FCX Clarity costs about half a million dollars to make
Carbon cost of producing hydrogen
Problems with HFC cars
•Short range (~260 miles)
•Warm up time (~5 minutes)
The Future of Hydrogen
• In the future, hydrogen will join electricity as an
important energy carrier, since it can be made safely
from renewable energy sources and is virtually non-
• It will also be used as a fuel for ‘zero-emissions’
vehicles, to heat homes and offices, to produce
electricity, and to fuel aircraft.
• Hydrogen has great potential as a way to reduce
reliance on imported energy sources such as oil
Important facts about Hydrogen Fuel
• NASA is the most famous supporter of hydrogen fuel cells,
this is because they use them to power their rockets.
• The United States has produced 19.8 billion pounds of
hydrogen, this is enough hydrogen to power 20-30 million
• Hydrogen is 14 times as light as air.
• The hydrogen power that is produced in today’s world is
mostly used to refine gasoline.
• During the Winter 2010 Olympics, hydrogen fuel cell buses
where used as transportation for tourists and Olympic