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PEM Fuel Cell
A PEM fuel cell directly converts chemical into electrical energy, at low operating temperatures, efficiently, quickly and virtually free of emissions (the only byproduct is water). In addition to their excellent cold-start performance and high efficiency, individual PEM fuel cells can easily be joined together to form a so-called fuel cell stack. By Connecting cells in series appreciable output voltage can be achieved and highly different power requirements (from a few watts to several megawatts) can be met. With these characteristics PEMFCs are suitable for a wide range of applications, including electric motors in automobiles, space exploration, mobile electricity supply, battery substitution and block-type thermal power stations (electricity-heat coupling).

How a PEM fuel cell works
In a PEM fuel cell two electrodes (typically platinum, blue on the transparency) are separated by a proton-conducting polymer membrane, the electrolyte (yellow). Hydrogen gas (in red, left side) is supplied to one electrode and oxygen gas (in blue, right side) to the other. The anode is a catalyst for the dissociation of hydrogen into protons (H+- ions) and electrons (yellow + and -). Both protons and electrons now travel to the cathode side (on the right) but - very importantly - on different paths. While the H+- ions pass through the cell's proton-conducting membrane the electrons move through the (closed) external circuit and thereby provide the fuel cell's electric power (indicated by light bulb). At the cathode the protons and electrons finally react with the oxygen to form water (in red and blue), the fuel cell's only byproduct.

Cathode reaction : 4H+ + 4e- + O2 → 2H2O
Anode reaction : 2H2 → 4H+ + 4e-

Source: h-tec GmbH © h-tec GmbH
Solar-Hydrogen Energy Cycle
Solar Cell
PEM Electrolyzer
PEM Fuel Cell
Fuel Cell Stack
Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
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