What is a Fuel Cell?

By Kirsteen Mackay


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Fuel cells, particularly those powered by hydrogen, are creating a buzz in the energy sector. Read on to learn about these promising devices.

What is a Fuel Cell?

The world is changing the way it gets energy, and there's a lot of excitement around something called a "fuel cell." This is a special device that creates electricity using hydrogen. Scientists and business people are really interested in it because it's a clean way to make energy and could be a big deal in the future. This article will explain how these fuel cells work and why many believe they're a good investment.

What is a Fuel Cell?

A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Fuel cells are similar to batteries in that both produce electricity chemically.

While batteries store all of their chemicals inside and eventually deplete them, fuel cells constantly replenish their reactants from an external source, allowing them to operate as long as there's a supply of fuel and an oxidizer. With their potential for high efficiency and reduced carbon footprint, it is no surprise that this technology is gaining traction.

How Does a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Work?

At the heart of this technology is the hydrogen fuel cell, distinguished by its utilization of hydrogen as the primary fuel source. Here's a step-by-step breakdown:

  • Anode (Fuel Side): Hydrogen gas goes in. With some help from a special substance, the hydrogen splits into tiny particles called electrons and protons.

  • Middle Part (Membrane): There's a layer in the middle that lets only the protons go straight through. But it makes the electrons go the long way around, and while they're moving, they make electricity.

  • Cathode (Air Side): Over here, the electrons coming from that long way around, and the protons that went straight through, meet up with oxygen from the air. They all come together and make water.

Cool thing? The main thing this fuel cell makes, other than electricity, is just water, so it's way better for the environment than burning things like oil or coal.

Hydrogen Cell Technology?

Hydrogen cell technology is all about making and improving hydrogen fuel cells. Scientists and engineers are trying to make them work better, last longer, and cost less. They're also figuring out how to make the hydrogen fuel in a green way, store it, and get it to the places it's needed.

One big problem they're working on is finding an eco-friendly and affordable way to make hydrogen. But as more people focus on using clean energy, there's hope that they'll solve these issues and we'll see more of these fuel cells in use.

Researchers and innovators are continually refining the efficiency, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness of these cells. The technology encompasses not just the fuel cells themselves but also the methods of producing hydrogen fuel, storage solutions, and infrastructural developments for distribution.

As innovations emerge and the momentum around green technologies escalates, it is anticipated that challenges will be addressed, paving the way for wider adoption of hydrogen fuel cells.

Fuel Cell Stock: A Glimpse into Investment Opportunities

For someone looking to invest, fuel cell stocks are attractive. Companies making these fuel cells are getting a lot of attention as the world tries to fight climate change and use cleaner energy. This means both brand-new companies and older, bigger ones are jumping into the game. But just like any new trend, it's exciting but can also be unpredictable. If you're thinking of putting your money in, it's important to do your homework.

Fuel Cell Stocks

Many companies are now involved in producing hydrogen, developing fuel cells, or building the necessary infrastructure. Some notable players include:

  • Ballard Power Systems Inc (NASDAQ: BLDP) (TSX: BLDP) - A Canadian company that designs and manufactures proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell products.

  • Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) - An American firm that offers hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions.

  • Cummins Inc (NYSE: CMI) - While traditionally known for diesel engines, Cummins has been increasingly moving into the hydrogen space, especially after acquiring Hydrogenics, a fuel cell and electrolyzer manufacturer.

  • Bloom Energy Corp (NYSE: BE) - Bloom produces solid oxide fuel cells that can generate electricity from various fuels, including hydrogen.

Want to know about companies working on cool hydrogen tech? Check out our article on where to invest.

Fuel Cells Illuminate the Future of Energy

Fuel cells, especially the ones using hydrogen, are at the intersection of science, engineering, and helping the planet. As we aim for a cleaner world, these technologies will show us the way. For stakeholders, from researchers to investors, understanding the intricacies of fuel cells and hydrogen cell technology is not just beneficial; it's pivotal.

Green hydrogen could be the next big thing in clean energy. But like with all new stuff, there can be risks. So, it's always good to learn a lot before putting your money in.

Everyone's talking about hydrogen as the future of clean power. Curious? Our guide can help you understand and maybe even join in on this exciting energy shift.

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This article does not provide any financial advice and is not a recommendation to deal in any securities or product. Investments may fall in value and an investor may lose some or all of their investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

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