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Fuel Cell Technology Current Status and Future Prospects of an Efficient Energy Conversion Technology


Autore: A. Heinzel

Collana: FM - 2004 Sorrento - Third International Symposium - Energy and Environment

Fuel cells are electrochemical energy converters generating electricity and heat from a hydrogen-rich fuel in an efficient way with very low emissions. The possible applications are manifold:

- As power source for electric vehicles,
- As stationary combined heat and power supply systems in a broad power range from 1 kW to several 100 kW,
- As auxiliary power unit for trucks,
- As remote, emergency or back up power units and
- As battery replacement

At present, four types of fuel cells according to materials being available are under development. Depending on application, the type of fuel cell and the type of hydrogen source is selected. Though in general, hydrogen is the preferable fuel, systems with integrated gas processors for natural gas, LPG, gasoline and diesel are also investigated. Some fuel cell systems are already in a demonstration phase and are ready to prove reliable long term operation, but for all systems, cost reduction still is a future challenge. The present state of the art of fuel cell development and future prospects will be presented in detail.

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