Fuel Cells for Home Usage

Sep 9, 2017   //   by admin   //   Knowledge Base  //  No Comments

Fuel Cells: this device generates electricity through the use of hydrogen and oxygen through a polyelectrolyte process for the purpose of generating electricity, heat and water. This hydrogen that is produced from compounds that consists of hydrocarbons and the oxygen used from the air.

Types of Fuel Cells: There are different fuel cell using different electrolyte having functions based on their capacity. Following are the types of fuel cells:

  1. Alkaline Fuel cell: this was one of the first invented cells that were initially used by NASA for space missions in 1960s. This produces 60-70% of electricity efficiency. These emit carbon dioxide and hence are preferred for aerospace or underwater activities.
  2. Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell: these are high power density fuel cells that work in low temperatures and highly efficient in situations needing quick startup. This produces electricity which can be used at micro level for several purposes such as automobiles, telecommunications, data center and residential markets.
  3. Direct Methanol Fuel Cell: this cell is used largely for low operating devices such as cellphones, laptops to slight complex needing power electronic such as boats or camping cabins.
  4. Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell: molten typically consists of sodium and potassium alkali carbonates that operate in high temperatures so much so that hydrogen is extracted from internal reformer itself. These can even utilize Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide as fuels and produce high power efficiency. These are well used at large stationary power projects like hospitals, hotels, prisons, colleges.
  5. Phosphoric Acid Fuel cell: these also operate in high temperature with the high tolerance to fuel impurities. They are used in cogeneration mode wherein byproduct heat is captured. Heating, cooling and hot water mechanism are possible, it is referred to as combined heat and power. These are used at high energy demand locations such as hospitals, schools and wastewater treatment plants.
  6. Solid Oxide Fuel cell: there are two sub category within this as it operates in high temperature to extract light or heavy hydrocarbons though it requires external reformer. One of the type uses an array of long meter tube while other uses compressed discs. These are widely used across different nations for several purposes. It is also used in homes, offices, colleges, universities.

The above types have been found to be highly beneficial to household usages as well. Most of the above fuel cells are used in many parts of the countries. It is considered to be growing in technology considering as an answer to alternative for power generation.

Benefits:

  •   Eco friendly: As compared to conventional power plants- these produce very little or no emissions at the source. Example, for 1,000 Kw/h of electricity nearly one ounce of pollutants are released compared to 25 pounds in conventional.
  •   Cost Effective: it skips the need of fuels used for generation of electricity. This allows an alternative option to exhaustible resources. The need of setting up an infrastructure is also minimized since fuel cells are small devices that occupies very little space. Each fuel cell has the capacity to generate electricity enough for the needs of the family for continuous period of time. For a home setting, it allows the heating, electricity to be used for water heaters, TVs, refrigerators and falls in the budget as compared to conventional supply of power. Fuel cells do not require recharging as long as the fuel is present. These need replacement in a period of 2- 3 years which is of reusable capacity. A reusable canister can be replaced in moments.
  •   Energy Efficient: since fuel is generated electrochemically and not through burning of fuels, they are more efficient. It produces 40-50% more efficiency than conventional power with an option that waste heat can be used again with cogeneration that generates heat and power; also referred to as combined heat and power. Each fuel cell has more life than does a battery. Fuel cells have energy density and lighter than battery system.

    Also, since these are directly connected and attached, there is no need of numbers of wires through which energy is being supplied to many areas. Under any circumstance like unfavorable weather , it can still ensure consistent and undisrupted supply of power.

  •   Use of Renewable Sources of Energy: hydrogen is available in plenty since it can be produced from domestic sources. This directly shifts the burden of being dependent upon fuels for electricity supply.
  •   Light Weight: these fuel cells are highly compatible and meets the needs of the consumer on daily grounds. These can also be portable for appliances such as cellphones, laptops.
  •   Silent Workers: these do not produce noise since they do not consist of moving parts and no dependency on combustion happens.
  •   Reliability and Quality: Fuel cells are able to produce power independently, ensuring crucial back up power to the grid. It has the ability to be attached to the main grid supply and provide additional power when the grid fails. Since there is electrolyte involved it ensures smoother supply of power without any shifts in the voltages.

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