Fuel cells are an important enabling technology and have the potential to revolutionise the way we power our world, offering cleaner, more-efficient alternatives to the combustion of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Fuel cells have the potential to replace the internal-combustion engine in vehicles and provide power in stationary and portable power applications because they are energy-efficient, clean, and fuel-flexible.
Some key benifits
Low NOx, SOx and Particulates
Because the oxidation of the fuel in a fuel cell is an electrochemical reaction and not combustion, the exhaust emissions are ultra low in NOx, SOx and particulates.
The conversion of the fuel to electricity and heat is a reaction which requires no moving parts so there are no moving parts such as pistons or turbines, although there are a varying degrees of moving parts in the balance of plant, consequently the availability is higher than conventional generation equipment, generally greater than 95%.
Again, as there is no combustion process the equipment making noise is generally quieter resulting in a low noise level.
Again, the equipment that would cause vibration is pumps and fans which are mounted on anti-vibration mountings and are relatively low in mass so the consequential potential vibrations are small and can be isolated.
Fuel cells produce DC electricity which is stabilised and then converted, using an inverter, to AC. As this is an electronic process the wave form is sinusoidal and power factor is unit.
All fuel cells produce water as a by-product so the exhaust can be condensed and water produced. This is generally of a high purity and can be cleaned to produce de-ionised water.
The information in this section is from the US department of energy site Energy.Gov