The main energy sources of today are slowly running out, and many of them have high levels of pollution. In the future, an alternate source of energy will be needed, and a cleaner way to produce the energy. One possibility for an alternate energy source would be Fuel Cells.
Fuel cells have been around for much longer than most people realize. Fuel cells have been known to science for around the past 150 years. In 1838, William Robert Grove had an improved wet-cell battery, known as the "Grove Cell". His wet-cell battery used the concept used today for fuel cells.
In 1939, Francis Thomas Bacon created an alkali electrolyte fuel cell that was reliable enough to be used in 1958 as the Apollo spacecraft's fuel cells. However, a truly workable fuel cell was not demonstrated until 1959.
After fuel cell use in NASA spacecraft, interest in fuel cells died down until the 1990's, when research and development in fuel cells started up again in full force. .
The fuel cell has competition in energy conversion, but has advantages over standard internal combustion engines, which produce pollution when the gasoline is burned, and only has an efficiency rating of 20%. This means that only 20% of the energy stored in gasoline is being used, with the rest going to waste. .
Fuel cell powered cars can reach an efficiency of closer to 50%. Since fuel cells don't burn gasoline, they are much more efficient than combustion engines. The byproduct of fuel cells is water and heat, compared to carbon dioxide of combustion engines, which also lowers the pollution emitted by fuel cell cars. .
The pollution from fuel cells is much smaller than that of fuel combustion because fuel cells rely on chemistry to generate energy, and not combustion. .
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that produces heat and electricity. Fuel cells are a clean source of energy and are very efficient. Fuel cells convert chemical energy into electrical energy by converting oxygen and hydrogen into water, which produces electricity and heat.