Fuel Cell Systems

A fuel cell system is a device that produces electricity and heat from a hydrogen source. The only exhaust from a pure hydrogen system is water and from a reformate fuel cell system is water and carbon dioxide.

The fuel cell system is by function much like a diesel generator, but since the fuel is only catalytically converted it does not produce the toxic emissions that combustion engine does.

The electric efficiency of a fuel cell system is measured by the net power out of the system divided by the net power put into the system. To be precise the efficiency should be measured over a load cycle. In some cases were the heat can be used, the total efficiency is higher.

How does it work?

The fuel cell needs to be supported by four subsystems and an overall controller:

  • • Hydrogen is produced and fed to the anode of the fuel cell from a reformer module or from a hydrogen bottle
  • • Air is fed to the cathode of the fuel cell by a blower and water is recovered after the fuel cell stack
  • • Produced heat is rejected by a radiator and coolant system
  • • Control of fuel reformer module and fuel cell module is done by a controller with an embedded system
  • • The produced power is stabilized with a DC/DC-converter and fed to the user and some back to the system.