Fuel Cells — Turn Up The Heat
Category: White Papers
The concept of the fuel cell was first published in 1938 by Christian Friedrich Schonbein . Based on this publication Sir William Grove invented the precursor of the fuel cell in 1839. The Grove Cell created current by applying two acids to zinc and platinum electrodes separated by a porous ceramic pot. In 1842 Grove developed the first actual fuel cell which produced electricity with hydrogen and oxygen, much like many fuel cells in use today. Fuel cells remained an intellectual curiosity until the 1960’s when the US space program identified a requirement for extended life batteries for which fuel cells seem to offer a promising solution. The current focus on green technologies has caused an increased interest in consumer uses of fuel cells for transportation, residential and commercial power supply, emergency backup power and portable power supplies for consumer and battlefield applications. Increased usage of any technology begs the question of how to address the costs associated with that technology. This article describes a research effort using publicly available data to develop cost estimating relationships for various types of power systems that utilize fuel cell technology.