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Energy Systems and Resources
Currently, global energy demand is high and is increasing by 1.8% per year. Added to this
fact is that the use of clean energy with very low emissions of greenhouse gases is
increasingly required. Fuel cells are shown in the future as a possibility for the supply of
electricity because they can convert chemical energy directly into electricity without
affecting the environment and with efficiency levels above 60%. This characteristic places
it at an advantage over combustion machines, since the latter require a four-stage process
for the generation of electricity to occur: i) burning of fuel to generate heat, ii) generation
of water vapor, iii) generation of mechanical energy in a turbine, and iv) production of
Fuel cells can be classified according to the electrolyte and fuel used, the existing cells are
Alkaline fuel cell (AFC): these cells employ an electrolytic solution of potassium
hydroxide and can operate at high and low temperatures (220ºC-120ºC) depending
on the concentration of KOH. The electrochemical reaction is:
𝐴𝑛𝑜𝑑𝑒: 2𝐻2 + 4𝑂𝐻 − → 4𝐻2 𝑂 + 4𝑒 −
𝐶𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑑𝑒: 2𝑂2 + 2𝐻2 𝑂 + 4𝑒 − → 4𝑂𝐻 −
𝑂𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑙: 2𝐻2 + 𝑂2 → 2𝐻2 𝑂
The initial use of these cells was for spacecraft and was designed by NASA.
Advantages of AFC cells include: use of non-precio...