What is a fuel cell?
Direct generation of electric power by an electrochemical reaction!
Principle of power generation
＜Electrolysis of water＞
Electrolysis of water is a well-known experiment that is also performed by students in junior high schools. When water is charged with a platinum electrode and electric current is passed, the water (H2O) is decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen.
How a fuel cell generates power
A fuel cell operates as a reverse of the electrolysis of water. A fuel cell makes water from hydrogen and oxygen and extracts the electricity that is generated in the process. At the anode, hydrogen ions (H+) and electrons (e-) are released by a catalytic reaction when hydrogen fuel is supplied. The hydrogen ions (H+) move through the electrolyte to the cathode because the electrolyte is a substance that allows ions to pass but not electrons. Since the electrons are blocked by the electrolyte and cannot move, it is possible to generate electricity by removing them to the outside. At the cathode, oxygen (O2) is separated into two oxygen atoms by a catalytic reaction when oxygen is supplied. Water (H2O) can be created by combining electrons that have moved to this oxygen atom and hydrogen ions that have passed through the electrolyte.