Fuel Cell Components
Reference work entry
All fuel cells essentially consist of two electrodes – an anode (negative side) and a cathode (positive side) – and an electrolyte to allow charges to move between the two sides of the fuel cell. Electrons are drawn from the anode to the cathode through an external circuit, producing direct current electricity. On both sides of the electrolyte and two electrodes (cathode, anode) are the catalyst layers. A catalyst lowers the activation energy to undergo a reaction and helps the reaction to take place at a faster rate. The fuel cell type is defined based on the nature of the electrolyte. The six types are alkaline fuel cell (AFC), molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC), phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), proton exchange membrane or polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell, and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The PEM and SOFC have solid electrolyte, while other three fuel cell types have liquid electrolyte. In a solid electrolyte fuel cell, for example, a PEMFC, the catalyst layer is spread...
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