A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction. There are several kinds of fuel cells for different kinds of fuel (pure hydrogen, alcohols, hydrocarbons), and each operates a bit differently. But in general terms, hydrogen atoms enter a fuel cell at the anode where a chemical reaction strips them of their electrons. The hydrogen atoms are now “ionized,” and carry a positive electrical charge. The negatively charged electrons provide the current through wires to do work. Since fuel cells create electricity chemically, rather than by combustion, they are not subject to the thermodynamic laws that limit a conventional power plant. Therefore, fuel cells are more efficient in extracting energy from a fuel. Waste heat from some cells can also be harnessed, boosting system efficiency still further. The applications are numerous and versatile. Fuel cells can be used to power simple electronic devices -such as cellphones,mp3-players-, cars and even a whole household or factory.
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