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Fuel cells

Fuel cells
The advent offuel cellsfor the generation of electricity for portable, small and large-scale stationary and automotive purposes portends radical changes in electricity supply over coming decades. Five main types offuel cell technology are reviewed along with their characteristics and electrochemical reactions plus those of a more recent non-hydrogen based regenerative fuel cell for large-scale power delivery.

by M. A. Laughton
fter a century of development and of the established power generation technologies for electricity se and particularly transport, new potentially disruptive technologies are now appearing to offer alternative future solutions to meet energy market needs. Such needs comprise increasing demands for reliable, high-quality and cheap energy, the reduction of environmentally harmful emissions, including greenhouse gases, and the heightened awareness of future sustainability and security of energy supplies over the coming decades. The present governmental focus on increasing the exploitation of renewable energy resources is one response, but another and certainly far more significant development is the emergence of fuel cells offering a balanced solution to the issues to be addressed. A fuel cell works much like a battery. In both batteries and fuel cells two electrodes-an anode and a cathode-are separated by an electrolyte. Whereas a storage battery contains all the substances in the electrochemical oxidation-reduction reactions involved and has, therefore, a limited capacity, a fuel cell is supplied with its reactants externally and operates continuously as long as it is supplied with fuel. Although fuel cells have been used in niche applications for many years, mainly as standby electrical power supply units, recent improvements in their cost and efficiency are
*California Air Resources Board requires ZEVs to form a small percentage of the cars brought to market from 2003. tThe US industry consortium Fuel Cells 2000 Web site (http://www.fuelcells.org) provides a useful guide to fuel cell technology.

leading to future uses in the much larger market of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs)*. The new generation of fuel cells will probably find other applications also, for example in small (3-10 kW) CHP (combined heat and power) units.

Fuel cell types The five basic types of fuel cellT are classified by the electrolyte that they employ. Lowtemperature types include the alkaline fuel cell (AFC) and solid polymer fuel cell (SPFC), the medium-temperature type is the phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) and the two hightemperature types are the molten-carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and the solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Oxygen from air is the oxidant (cathode fuel) in all these, but a number of fuels can be burned at the anode. An idealised schematic diagram illustrating the structure, electron and ion flow for the various types of fuel cell is shown in Fig. 1. An alternative classification is based on fuels, namely:
reformate/air fuel cells, in which the feedstock is hydrogen produced by the in situ steam-reforming and/or partial oxidation of fuels such as methane, gasoline +) or diesel fuel (C14HZ2 5 ) . The carbon (CSHI5 monoxide (CO) also produced is tolerated in some cell types but not in others, in which case it must be removed from the reformer output prior to being fed to the anode, e.g.: 2CH30H (methanol) + H20 (steam) + heat + 5Hz+CO + C02 CH3(CH2)&H3 (octane) + 6 0 2 (air) + 9H2 + 4CO + 4 c 0 2 + heat
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POWER ENGINEERING JOURNAL FEBRUARY 2002

Fuel cells
.

1 Principle of fuel cell operation

I electrons
positive ion flow
b

ANODE -ve
\

H+ (PEMFC)

*
H+ (PAFC)

CATHODE +ve

*
ELECTROLYTE

negative ion flow


4 4

air (or

OH(AFC) -,
I

exhaust

Hz0

COS*- (MCFC)
02- fSOFC\

exhaust

Hz0

electrolyte

>

hydrogenlair fuel cells, which use stored or chemically generated pure hydrogen as the anode feedstock direct oxidation fuel cells, in which an organic fuel is directly oxidised at the anode. Hydrogen is a favoured anode feedstock because its electrochemical oxidation is fast and clean; however it is not a primary fuel. If it is not made by fuel reforming, as described above, it must be produced by other means, usually the electrolysis of water. This only makes sense in greenhouse gas abatement terms if the electricity comes from a non-fossil fuel source such as nuclear power or a renewable energy source. Table 1 lists some fuel cells based on these types where the solid polymer design, SPFC , appears in the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) and in the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). A summary of fuel cell electrochemical reactions is shown in Table 2.
Fuel cell performance Efficiency (i) Thermodynamic efficiency, 77,h The amount of energy available for useful work arising from the energy changes of the electrochemical reaction occurring in a fuel cell under standard conditions of temperature and
38

pressure is governed by the Gibbs free energy equation: AG


= AH - T.AS

where AG is the Gibbs free energy or standard free energy of formation available for work, AH is the standard enthalpy of formation, 7 is the absolute temperature of 298.15 K and AS is the entropy change for the reaction. For a hydrogen-oxygen reaction
H2

(gas) + % 0 2 (gas)

-+ H 2 0

the thermodynamic values from tables are: AG = 237.13 kJ/mol and AH = 285.13 kJ/mol for water as a liquid and AG = 22837 kJ/mol and AH = 241.82 kJ/mol for water as a gas. The maximum theoretical thermodynamic efficiency, q,h, is the ratio of the Gibbs free energy to the standard enthalpy of formation: VI,,= AG/AH X 100
= 83.0%

(liquid) to 94.5% (gas)

(ii) Electrical efficiency, qerec The electrical efficiency, q,~~,, is defined as the
POWER ENGINEERING J O U R N A L FEBRUARY 2002

Fuel cells
ratio of the maximum of the electrical work, We~ec,mau, done on an electrical load at a measured terminal voltage to the standard enthalpy of formation: the potential difference: work = (charge) x (potential energy difference) When the fuel cell reactants and products are present as pure solids or in a concentration of 1.0 mole, or as gases at 1.0 bar, the measured cell potential (potential energy difference) in volts is the standard potential, E?, all values being given at 25C (298K). The standard potential Eo is a quantitative measure of the maximum cell potential, i.e. open-circuit voltage. For the hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell, which involves the transfer of two electrons per + H20), molecule of water formed (2H' + 02if the water is present as a liquid then E? = 1.23V and if the water is a gas then Eo = 1.18V. This is the voltage for a single cell. Practical fuel cells are built from an interconnected assembly of such single cells

This efficiency is the common measure of cell efficiency. In practice, because of internal resistance of the cells, it is considerably less than the thermal efficiency. Cell voltage Electrons generated at the site of oxidation (the anode) of a cell are 'pushed toward the cathode by an electromotive force, or EME This force is due to the difference in electric potential energy of an electron at the two electrodes. The quantity of electric work done is proportional to the number of electrons (the quantity of electric charge) moved and the magnitude of
Table 1 Fuel cell types and characteristics

!
1
Electrolyte AFC PEMFC

Type DMFC

PAFC

MCFC

SOFC

aqueous potassium hydroxide


(30-4Oo/o)

sulphonated organic polymer (hydratedduring operation)


70-1 00

sulphonated organic polymer (hydratedduring operation)


90

phosphoric acid

molten
lithiu m/sodium/

yttriastabilised
zirconia

potassium carbonate
150-220 600-700

Operating temperature, O C 60-90 Charge carrier

650-1 000

OHAnode

Hf

H+
platinum-

H*

CO?

02-

nickel (Nil or precious metal


Cathode

platinum (Pt)

platinum [R)

ruthenium
(Pt, Ru)

nickeVchromium oxide

nickellyttriastabilised zirconia

platinum (Pt)

platinum (Pt)

platinum-

platinum (Pt)

or lithiated NiO

ruthenium
(Pt, Ru)

nickel oxide ("31

strontium
(Sr)

doped
lanthanum

manganite
Co-generation heat

none

low quality

none

acceptable for
many

high

high

applications
Electrical efficiency, 010 60
40-45 30-35 40-45 50-60 50-60

Fuel sources
H 2

Hz

Removal of
CO, from both

Reformate with less than 10 ppm

watehethanol solution

Hz

reformate

Hz,COS natural gas

Hz, CO,

natural gas

gas streams

co

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Fuel cells
Table 2 Summary of fuel cell electrochemical reactions Type AFC Fuel to anode
2H2

Product of anode reaction

Ion in electrolyte
40H-

Product of cathode reaction


4 0 H-

Fuel to cathode '


0 2

t
4H20 4e-

t
+2H20 +4e-

+
PEMFC
2H2

+ +

4H+

4Ht

1 + 4e6H'

+ +
4H' 6H'

0 2

1
2H20

+ 4e3/202

DMFC

CH,OH +H20

1
C02f +6e4H'

t
+6e-

PAFC

2H2

+ +

1
+4e-

+
2co32-

0 2

1
2H20 2co32-

t
+4e-

MCFC

2H2

0 2

in

1
2H20 +2c02 +4eH+

t
+2c02 +4e-

hydrocarbon
fuel

SOFC

2H2

in hydrocarbon
fuel

202-

202

0 2

1
2H20 +4e-

t
+4e-

into 'stacks' to provide the desired voltage and power output. Polarisation When the cell is under load the efficiency and terminal voltage decrease because of a number of factors, including polarisation effects and interconnection losses between cells in the fuel cell stack. Polarisation effects in a cell arise for a number of reasons: The diffusion of ions through the electrolyte results in the build-up of concentration gradients, thereby decreasing the rate of transport. The relationship between concentration overvoltages and electric current is approximately linear up to a limiting value, above which the overvoltages build up rapidly (mobility inhibitiodconcentration polarisation). To achieve a self sustaining reaction the hydrogen and oxygen must attach to the surface of the cathode and this process takes time and limits current flow. Ohmic resistance arising from the transport

of charged particles through the electrolyte. Fig. 2 illustrates the performance characteristics of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell. Fig. 2a shows the voltage as a function of current density. The effects of polarisation can be seen in Fig. 2b, which shows the power density as a function of the current density. The power losses due to polarisation cause the curve to depart from and be below the ideal power-current straight-line relationship. As the current density increases from zero the location of the curve is determined initially by the activation power losses, then by ohmic losses at the maximum power point, and finally by the mobility inhibition losses, which cause power shutdown. Finally, Fig. 2c shows efficiency as a function of power density. Note that, unlike internal combustion engines, the efficiency increases with decreasing load.
Fuel cell systems

Fuel processing In practice hydrogen always occurs in combination with other elements. It is

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Fuel cells
necessary, therefore, to pro-duce it either by electrolysis, in the case of water, or by separation in a reformer if a hydrocarbon fuel is used as a primary source. The largest quantity of hydrogen is produced by the catalytic steam reformation of hydrocarbons. This process uses methane, CH4,as the primary starting material. Methane reacts with steam at high temperature to give carbon monoxide and hydrogen: CH4 + Hz0

1.0

-+ 3Hz + CO
1.o

A fuel cell system that includes a fuel reformer can utilise, in principle, the hydrogen from any hydrocarbon fuel-from natural gas to methanol. The two primary types of reformers being developed for transportation are steam reformers and partial oxidation reformers. Steam reformers have higher efficiency but partial oxidation reformers are simpler. A high-temperature fuel cell can use the carbon monoxide as a fuel, but for lower temperature cells the carbon monoxide is unacceptable and must be removed from the reformer gas stream. This can be achieved by a further reaction with steam, known as the water-gas shift reaction, the process producing more hydrogen:
CO + HzO

0.5

1.5

J, Ncm2

r
0.6
N

2
l i

0.4

+ H2 + COz

0.2

or removed by preferential oxidation reactors or by separation membranes. If the primary fuel contains sulphur a desulphurisation process must be included .prior to the reformer.
Water management

0.5

1 .o

1.5

J, A/cm2

Given concerns about adequate local supplies of pure water for human consumption and industrial purposes in future the water produced in fuel cells as an exhaust product is seen as providing a potentially important added benefit of fuel cell operation. In the alkaline fuel cells used aboard the space Shuttle, for example, in seven days the cells consume 680 kg of hydrogen and produce 864 litres of drinking water. In MCFC and SOFC cells this water is produced in the form of hightemperature steam, the water concentration needing to be controlled in these cells to avoid deposition of carbon on the electrode. Within SPFC cells water flow has to be controlled to facilitate ion transportation. Clearly water management is an essential part of the design

0.2

0.4

0.6

P , WIcm2
C

2 Fuel cell performance

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Fuel cells

1
I
natural processing: desulphurisation reforming

steam

1
rtn-m

heat exchanger/ condenser

rl

heat exchanger

steam/ water

ANODE

inverter

El

electricity water

3 Flow diagram of a

of a fuel cell plant.

solid-oxide fuel cell system in a combined heat and power scheme

solid-oxide fuel cell-based combined heat and power (CHP) scheme for an office building.
Applications Fuel cells find applications in transport, stationary power generation, buildings for supplying both electricity and heat, in space for providing both electricity and water and in military areas for providing power to sensors and other electronic equipment. With the energy stored per kilogram of fuel cell weight or per litre of volume being potentially several orders greater than that stored in batteries, there is interest also in developing small fuel cells for future consumer electronic purposes. The three markets where fuel cells will find application are categorised here as stationary, automotive and portable. Stationary powerfuel cells The stationary power market includes lowpower single-family homes, medium power uses in commercial premises, hospitals and hotels, and high-power multimegawatt industrial plants. Opportunities for the use of

Temperature control A preheating stage, particularly for hightemperature fuel cells, may be required for start-up. Heat exchangers are required to ensure that the reactants enter the cells at appropriate temperatures for operation; this again is a particularly important requirement for high-temperature cells. The flow rate of the oxidant generally controls the stack temperature. Power conditioning Fuel cell output is in the form of direct current (DC), the voltage depending on the stack size. For most purposes alternating current (AC) at higher voltages is required; therefore fuel cell output is transformed from DC to AC by means of a standard power electronics inverter and thence to a higher voltage by means of a transformer.
These subsystems are shown in schematic form in Fig. 3 , which presents a flow diagram of a

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Fuel cells
all of the fuel cell types exist in this market. The most popular fuel will most likely be natural gas: the existing gas supply infrastructure can be used, but there are also opportunities for exploiting biogas resources. Fuel cell technology, however, is not the only promising new technology becoming available in many of these target markets. There seems a real possibility that microturbines, with their immediate capital cost advantage, will make substantial inroads into some of the distributed power markets ahead of fuel cells. Different fuel cell types have been identified for large-scale stationary power generation, namely PAFCs, MCFCs and SOFCs and, more recently, PEMFCs.
(i) Phosphoric acid fuel cells

(PAFCs) PAFCs have been developed to the first stages of commercialisation. Turnkey 200 kW plants are available and have been installed at over 70 sites (some 170 units in total) in Europe, the USA and Japan. With an operating temperature around 200C there is potential for hot-water supply as well as electricity depending on the matching of the heat and electricity load profiles. Electrical efficiencies can exceed 40%.

(ii) Molten-cavbonate fuel cells (MCFCs) MCFCs offer higher fuel-to-electricity conversion efficiencies-up to 60%. At operating temperatures of around 650C the waste heat produced can be used in conventional combined-cycle plant for the generation of more electricity via steam turbines, thus raising the overall combined station efficiency. An important requirement of MCFCs is that operation should not be affected by carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide in the fuel gas. At 650C the carbonate salts of the electrolyte are in a liquid state allowing ion transport. At the anode the carbonate ions react with the hydrogen fuel to produce electrons for the external circuit, carbon dioxide and water; the cathode is supplied with oxygen and carbon dioxide and it is important that the correct amount of carbon dioxide is supplied and recirculated in order to replenish the electrolyte.

(iii) Solid-oxidefuel cells (SOFCs) SOFCs are solid-state devices operating at temperatures up to 1000C. They can use a potentially wider choice of fuels and there is no requirement to manage liquid electrolytes. Current is conducted by the passage of oxygen ions through a solid electrolyte. At the cathode oxygen is reduced to form oxygen ions; at the anode the transported oxygen ions react with the gaseous fuel to produce electrons for the external circuit and water. Generally fuel flow is used to regulate electrical output and air flow controls the temperature. SOFCs must operate at high temperatures to enable oxygen ions to diffuse through the electrolyte, which is made possible by the presence of oxygen vacancies in the crystalline structure of the electrolyte. With conventional designs the anode is a composite of nickel and yttria-stabilised zirconia (YSZ). This composite is an electronic conductor (due to the nickel) and also an ionic conductor (due to the YSZ). Nickel, however, catalyses the formation of graphite from hydrocarbons, except at a narrow range of operating temperatures for methane only, thus carbon formation with nickel-based anodes is unavoidable for the wider range of hydrocarbon fuels available. Research suggests that anodes made from a composite of copper and ceria, or samariadoped ceria, may remove this barrier in the future. Electrical efficiency is up to 60% and, again when used with combined cycle plant, higher overall station efficiencies can be obtained. These cells may be able to reform hydrocarbon fuels internally without the need for pumps to circulate hot electrolyte. Although still at a relatively early stage of development they are regarded as most promising for generating electricity from hydrocarbon fuels. Once the cost reductions associated with maturing technologies allow fuel cells to be competitive with conventional ge'neration plant, the deployment of fully developed stationary fuel cells within the electricity supply industry will have significant impacts and advantages compared with conventional

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Fuel cells
alkaline cells have an intolerance to carbon dioxide, the electrolytes reacting with the carbon dioxide, and the phosphoric acid cells are too bulky for mobile purposes. The major technology for transportation purposes has emerged as the low-temperature solid-polymer fuel cell (SPFC) and, in particular, the proton exchange membrane fuel cell . Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) PEMFCs comprise a thin ion-conducting membrane between two platinum-coated electrodes and afford a comparatively high powerdensity The fuel is hydrogen, which is supplied to the anode, where hydrogen ions and free electrons are generated. It is necessary to control the management of the water in the membrane, which is essential for the hydrogen ion transportation, the water tending to follow the hydrogen ions to the cathode. The amount of water at the anode must also be controlled to ensure the correct hydrogen interaction with the platinum catalyst and to prevent dehydration. Platinum catalysts are tolerant to carbon dioxide but not to carbon monoxide. Although progress is being made in alleviating this problem, an approximate guide is that quantities greater than 10 ppm for a platinum catalyst or at most 100 ppm for a platinudruthenium catalyst result in a degradation of performance. This change in output is illustrated in Table 3 . The output of a PEMFC can be altered quickly to match varying load demand, thus making it suitable for automotive purposes where quick start-up is required. Stacks of cells are capable of producing 1kW/l or 0.7 kW/kg, equivalent to about 28 kW/cubic foot.
(i)

relectrolyte tank

elect

1
1

4 Single regenerative fuel cell showing electrolyte and electrical connections

generating plant, namely: emission reduction (NO,, SO,, CO, hydrocarbons) fossil fuel savings through higher efficiencies if used to replace older conventional fossil fuel plant, although modern 60% efficient CCGT (combined cycle gas turbine) stations are more efficient than either PEMFCs or PAFCs thermal recovery of high-grade heat for CHP schemes planning flexibility in plant size without loss of efficiency high reliability quietness of operation suitability for embedded generation in either high demand or remote areas. MCFC and SOFC plants are expected to be commercially available in the next ten years (post-2000), initially with 20 MW capacity and fuelled by natural gas. Automotive fuel cells Both alkaline and phosphoric acid fuel cells have been used in demonstration vehicles, but

Table 3 PEMFC output with carbon dioxidehonoxide present in the hydrogen fuel gas Fuel gas Voltage, V Current density, mA/cmZ Power, W

Hz
HZ, 25% COz H2, 25% COz, O W 0 CO

0.71
0.68 0.71

430 430 215

100 96 50

( i i ) Direct methanolfuel cells (DMFCs) In order to avoid the necessity of either storing the hydrogen on board a vehicle or reforming it from another fuel, a solid-polymer fuel cell working directly from methanol has been developed. An aqueous, low-concentration 3% methanol solution is used with the methanol and water reacting at the anode to produce carbon dioxide as well as hydrogen ions and free electrons as before. The key to this process is the use of a 5050 platinum-ruthenium alloy catalyst on the carbon electrodes. This technology is less advanced and the efficiency and power are generally lower than those of the

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Fuel cells

e
end electrode end electrode

bipolar electrode

membrane

electrolytes in

PEMFC, hut this is compensated for by the absence of a hydrogen tank or a fuel reformer. As with all fuel cells deriving hydrogen from fossil fuel the cell emits carbon dioxide but, compared with internal combustion engines, its higher efficiency, particularly under part load, ensures that less carbon dioxide is produ,ced. In addition, again as with all fuel cells, because there is no combustion there is an absence of NOX (oxides of nitrogen) emissions. The hydrocarbon-fuelled cell has considerable potential for the auto industries. It avoids the high cost of hydrogen and the low specific energy density of hydrogen when compressed. Liquid fuels have not only a much higher specific energy density, but also the benefits of an established distribution system supported by the necessary forecourt engineering knowledge. The range of hydrocarbon fuels that can be used as sources of hydrogen include not only methanol but also natural gas and gasoline. Solid-polymer fuel cells using such fuel sources are currently being tested by a number of major automobile

manufacturers in the development proprietary zero-emission engines.

of

5 Bipolar module of a

regenerative fuel cell stack

(iii) Intermediate-temperature solid-oxide fuel cells (ITSOFCs) More recently solid-oxide fuel cells operating at 500-700C have been suggested with possible use in transport applications. Such cells using methanol fuel . have been demonstrated. Advantages include the absence of high-temperature fuel reforming and also of catalyst poisoning by carbon monoxide, which is used here as a fuel. Portablefuel cells The portable power market covers consumer electronics, laptop computers and military equipment, which include devices requiring from milliwatts to several hundred watts that will probably be supplied by direct methanol fuel cells. The hydrogen here is stored in InethanoVwater cartridges and the problems of a supply infrastructure are not an issue. Commercial market entry is expected in about 2004.

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Fuel cells
Regenerative fuel cells Another development based on fuel cell technology, but which could also be classed as a battery inasmuch as the charge capacity is limited by the quantities of the constituents, is the regenerative fuel cell. Whereas battery capacity is related to electrode solid-state reactions and hence to electrode size and shape, here regenerative fuel cell plants store or release energy by means of a reversible between two electrochemical reaction electrolyte solutions physically separated by a permeable ion-exchange membrane. The electrolytes are transfokmed electrochemically inside the cell, but the quantities of electrolytes available for use are not limited by cell size. Instead they flow into and out of the cell through separate manifolds through a controlled pumping supply plant. Fig. 4 illustrates the principle of a single-cell regenerative fuel cell and shows the electrolyte and electrical connections. Fig. 5 illustrates the fuel cell stacking arrangement and shows the bipolar nature of
the electrodes where the cathode of one cell

Such a fuel cell operates at ambient temperatures and pressures and is, therefore, not suitable for CHP schemes. As a power source it holds much promise, one design comprising one hundred 100 kW stacks or modules providing 120 MWh of energy storage capable of being released at a rate of 12 MW for 10 hours with a peak output of 14.75MW. In common with all electrochemical systems, maximum efficiency' is achieved below the maximum power rating. The power response is fast: zero to full discharge is achieved in 10-15 ms, being limited by the performance of the power conversion unit. Future expectations Any device powered by electricity can be powered by a fuel cell, but in all of the possible markets the hydrogen supply poses significant problems. Whereas hydrogen can be produced directly from the electrolysis of water, three issues need addressing before hydrogen alone can be delivered to fuel cells over a wide geographic area, namely:
the problem o f producing hydrogen cheaply

becomes the anode of the next in a bipolar stack or module. One example of the regenerative fuel cell uses as two electrolytes the salts sodium bromide and a sodium polysulphide, respectively. With the anodes and cathodes coated with an appropriate catalyst the simplified chemical reactions are: 3NaBr + Na& H 2NazSz+ NaBrs For the forward reaction electricity is produced with a monopolar cell having a standard potential of E? = 1.5V Reversing the voltage, i.e. putting electrical power into the cell, recharges the cell by reconstituting the electrolytes in their original form. The overall electrical efficiency of such a system, comprising cell, control system and power conversion unit, is about 65% and is limited by the performance of the membrane in transferring the sodium ion Na', the target efficiency being 80%.

the technical problems associated with storage and transportation the very substantial cost of building a delivery infrastructure. These problems await long-term developments of perhaps 15 to 20 years; however, in most near-to-medium-term fuel cell applications hydrogen will be extracted via a hydrocarbon feedstock using catalytic reforming processes to supply the hydrogen at the point of use of the fuel cell. With regard to fuel cell technology itself many of the necessary advances in materials science have been made as a result of the billions of dollars invested by government and industry in research and development. Reductions in cost of orders of magnitude have been achieved and performances are approaching those of the engines and batteries that fuel cells will seek to displace, notwithstanding the favourable legislation promoting environmentally clean tech-

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nologies. A list of priorities for future fuel cell research is given in the Appendix. On the negative side, there are significant barriers to the entry of new companies into fuel cell development and manufacture such as the need for lengthy demonstration times of 5000 to 10000 hours for a car and a minimum of 40000 hours lifetime for stationary applications. Much intellectual property is involved in designing and building the various fuel cells and for the existing designs this is covered not only by the patents held by the many companies involved hitherto, but also by trade secrets, which are relatively easily maintained. Once commercial viability is proven, however, those companies with a genuine technological advantage will have a significant degree of protection.
Bibliography
1 1

1988, 71, pp.271-274 1 4 KENDALL, K.: Hopes for a flame free future, Nature, 2000, 404, pp.233-235 15 National Power plc.: Regenesys: the flexible soloution to energy storage. See http://www.national-power.com (November 1998)

Appendix A recent DTI call for proposals under the Renewable Energy Programme listed the following priorities for fuel cell research (see http://www.dti.gov.uW renewabldprior2.pdf: To construct and evaluate a novel SPFC stack of > 50 kWe, power density > 1 kWA, pressure < 2 barg, CO tolerant to at least 100 ppm, and performance degradation < 1% over 1000 h. To construct and evaluate a novel SPFC stack of -1 kwe, power density -500 WA and operating at ambient pressure. To construct and evaluate a -20 kW SOFC system operating on natural gas. To design, construct and evaluate a compact integrated auxiliary power unit (APU) of -5 kW, together with fuel reforming. To construct and evaluate a novel, planar SOFC stack of -20 kWe, internally reforming natural gas, delivering an efficiency > 50% (LHV). The stack should be capable of manufacture by a viable (if not yet proven) process, and with materials costs < US$300/kW. To design, construct and evaluate a compact, responsive, natural gas fuel processor, scaleable between -1 kW and -50 kw, and hence suitable for residential through small commercial CHP systems. The system should . achieve a power density > 1kWh, performance degradation < 0.5% in 1000 h, < 10 ppm CO output, and a 10 000 h operating life. To design, construct and evaluate a compact, responsive, liquid-fuelled fuel processor, suitable for passenger cars, that achieves a power density > 1 kWA, performance degradation < 0.5% in 1000 h, < 10 ppm CO output, and an operating life of 10 000 h. Initial (exploratory) projects, to develop and evaluate novel hydrogen storage systems that may be suitable for passenger cars.
This article has also been published in Engineering Science and EducationJoumal

MAGUIRE, J., and MICHAEL, E K. (Eds.): European fuel cells R and D review (Business/Technology Books, Moraga, CA, USA, September 1994) KIRK, R. E., and OTHMER, D. F: (Eds.): Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology u o h n Wiley, 1994) MILLER, M., and Swan, D.: Californias statewide fuel cell research, design and development collaboration plan (BusinesdTechnoIogy Books, Moraga, CA, USA, March 1996) BLOMEN, L. J. M. J., and MUGERWA, M. N. (Eds.):, Fuel cell systems (Kluwer AcademidPlenum, 1994) APPLEBY, A. J., and FOULKES, F: R.: Fuel cell handbook (Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, Florida, USA, 1993) HIRSCHENHOFER, J. H., STAUFFER, D. B., ENGLEMAN, R. R., and KLETT, M. G.: Fuel cell handbook (US Department of Energy, Morgantown, W,USA, 1998,4th edn.) LARMINIE, J., and DICKS, A,: Fuel cell systems explained (John Wiley and Sons, 2000) SIMADER, G., and KORDESCH, K.: Fuel cells and their applications (John Wiley and Sons, 1996) Research and development of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system for transportation application: fuel cell infrastructure and commercialisation. Allison Gas Turbine report, 1996 10 QUANG MlNH NGUYEN et al.: Science and technology of ceramic fuel cells (Elsevier Science, 1995) 11 STIMMING, U., et al.: Solid oxide fuel cells (The Electrochemical Society, Pennington, NJ, USA, 1997) 12 SEUNGDOO PARK,VOHS, J. M., and GORTE, R. J.: Direct oxidation of hydrocarbons in a solid-oxide fuel cell, Nature, 16th March 2000, 404, pp.265-266 13 KENDALL, K., ALSTON, T., PALIN, M., WINDIBANK, E , and PRICE, M.: A 1Cl00 cell SOFC reactor for domestic cogeneration,J. Power Sources,

OIEE: 2002
Michael Laughton is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E l 4NS, UK. E-mail: m.a.laughton@elec.qmw.ac.uk. He is an 1EE Fellow.

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