Portable Fuel Cells – Fundamentals, Technologies and Applications
Unlike transportation, small and large scale stationary applications, portable applications are generally considered to have power requirement less than 1 kW. PFCs are used in this kind of devices which are small and lightweight. Portable devices requiring low power have progressed from primary (disposable) and secondary (rechargeable) batteries to portable fuel cells. It is foreseen that PFCs will soon start replacing with Li-based or other rechargeable batteries since these battery systems are not suitable for highpower and long-lifespan portable devices due to their limited specific energy and operational time. In the case of high-power applications, PFCs will be preferred to internal combustion engines since they are more efficient, quiet and environmentally friendly. Some possible application areas that PFCS may be selected instead of internal combustion engines include, but not limited to, buildings and film sets.
Recently, many fuel cell companies have started paying the highest attention to portable fuel cells (PFCs) for micro applications and faster commercialization. Such fuel cells are especially crucial for the devices where high power density and long operation time are needed. Their application areas include, but not limited to, laptops, battery chargers, external power units and military applications. Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) are considered the most feasible fuel cell types for niche applications.
On the other hand, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) is a very promising type that may penetrate the market in the future, especially for military applications. This study is intended to discuss the PFCs, current technologies and challenges, potential applications. Some illustrative examples are presented to highlight the importance of these PFCs.
KeywordsFuel Cell Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Life Cycle Cost Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
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