How do Fuel Cells Work? | Summary and Q&A

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April 27, 2008
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Tyler DeWitt
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How do Fuel Cells Work?

TL;DR

Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to create energy, with a catalyst allowing the positive hydrogen ions to pass through a barrier while the electrons travel through a wire, generating electricity and producing only water as a byproduct.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ˜’ Fuel cells use the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to generate energy.
  • πŸ˜‘ The catalyst in a fuel cell allows only positive hydrogen ions to pass through a barrier.
  • πŸ—ΊοΈ Electrons from the hydrogen travel through a wire, creating electricity.
  • πŸ˜’ Fuel cells are expensive due to the use of platinum as a catalyst.
  • πŸ’¦ Fuel cells are an environmentally-friendly alternative to combustion engines, as they only produce water as a byproduct.
  • 😨 Fuel cells can be used to power cars, spacecraft, and airplanes.
  • πŸ’ The flow of electrons in a fuel cell produces electricity.

Transcript

fuel cells are based on it they use some pretty clever chemistry and they're based on the idea that hydrogen gas and oxygen gas always come together to make water whenever they can so h2 plus O 2 makes h2o hydrogen gas and water come together to make water hi Piper gasps knocking gasps come together make water these guys will come together whenever... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How do fuel cells generate energy?

Fuel cells generate energy by utilizing the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. A catalyst splits the hydrogen into positive hydrogen ions (H+), which pass through a barrier, while the electrons from the hydrogen travel through a wire, generating electricity.

Q: Why are fuel cells expensive?

Fuel cells can be expensive due to the use of platinum as a catalyst. Platinum is expensive and often used for other purposes, such as jewelry or electronic devices, which contributes to the high cost of fuel cells.

Q: What is the purpose of the barrier in a fuel cell?

The barrier in a fuel cell separates the hydrogen and oxygen tanks, preventing direct contact until the catalyst splits the hydrogen into positive and negative parts. The positive hydrogen ions can pass through the barrier, while the negative electrons are redirected through a wire.

Q: What is the advantage of using fuel cells in cars?

Fuel cells in cars produce energy without creating pollution. Unlike traditional combustion engines, fuel cells only produce water as a byproduct when hydrogen and oxygen combine.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Fuel cells utilize the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to create energy.

  • The fuel cell consists of two tanks: one containing hydrogen (boys dorm) and the other containing oxygen (girls dorm), separated by a barrier.

  • A catalyst splits the hydrogen into positive hydrogen ions (H+) that can pass through the barrier, while the electrons from the hydrogen travel through a wire, creating electricity.

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