Fuel Cells–Lecture Notes

Power Plant Engineering

Fuel Cells:

Chemical Energy of fuel is converted into low voltage direct current electrical energy.

Fuel & Oxidizer are stored external to the battery and fed to it when needed.

Fuel gas diffused through anode, it is oxidized e- are released to external circuit oxidized fuel diffuses the cathode , combines with e- which comes from external circuit and forms water and heat.

H2 is mostly used fuel.

Reaction: 2H2+O2 = 2H2O

Power produced in fuel cell depends on cell type, size, temperature, and pressure of gas.

Single fuel cell is used for small application, for larger application they are connected in series (fuel cell stacks)


1. Anode:

H2 gas strikes on it and splits into positive and negative ions electron goes to external circuit.

2. Cathode:

Conducts electron from external circuit, distribute O2 to the surface. Recombination of hydrogen ions and O2 to form water.

3. Polymer Electrode membrane:

Conducts positive ions and blocks electrons. Permit only necessary ions to pass between anode and cathode.

4. Catalyst:

Speed up the reaction of O2 and H2.

Platinum Powder coated on carbon paper.

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