Encyclopedia of Applied Electrochemistry

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerhard Kreysa, Ken-ichiro Ota, Robert F. Savinell

Fuel Cells, Principles and Thermodynamics

  • Ken-ichiro Ota
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-6996-5_194


Through fuel cells we can convert chemical energy to electrical energy directly where fuel and oxidant are supplied from the outside of a cell. Fuel cells are the energy conversion systems rather than the energy storage devices such as primary or secondary batteries. Fuel cell was invented by Schoenbein [1] or Sir William Grove [2] in 1939. This invention was before those of a lead acid battery and a manganese dry cell.

From the early stage of the fuel cell development, several types have been developed. A polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC or PEMFC), a phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC), a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), and an alkaline fuel cell (AFC) are the fuel cells which use principally hydrogen as a fuel. The difference is the electrolyte. Alcohols, ethers, and hydrides, including hydrazine besides hydrogen, can be used directly for a fuel cell system. A methanol fuel cell is called a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC).

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  1. 1.
    Schoenbein CF (1839) Philosophical magazine. p 43Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grove WR (1939) Philosophical magazine. p 129Google Scholar
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    Vielstich W, Yokokawa H, Gasteiger H (eds) (2009) Handbook of fuel cells, vol 1–5. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
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    Srinivasan S (ed) (2006) Fuel cells. Springer, BostonGoogle Scholar
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    Blomen LJMJ, Mugerwa MN (eds) (1993) Fuel cell systems. Plenum Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
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    Winter C, Nitsch J (eds) (1988) Hydrogen as an energy carrier. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken-ichiro Ota
    • 1
  1. 1.Yokohama National University, Fac. EngineeringYokohamaJapan