Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Production, Uses, Advantages, Disadvantages, Questions (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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What is Hydrogen Fuel?

  • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel when it is burned oxygen.
  • This fuel could release more energy in comparison to diesel or petrol. Which means it has about thrice efficiency than petrol. Also, lesser pollutants are produced by the burning of this fuel than compared to the use of petrol.

What is Hydrogen Fuel Cell?

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells shows how these fuel cells work, how they came to be, and how they are coming into wider use.
  • The fuel contains nitrogen oxides as pollutants since hydrogen uses nitrogen as the impurity (here we are talking about the molecule of hydrogen and not the atom) . The pollution can be brought down if a little water is added to the container to reduce the temperature. That would deter the reaction between oxygen and nitrogen.
  • Compared to a petrol tank containing the fuel, a hydrogen gas cylinder in compressed form would weigh much higher. To cool down the hydrogen gas into a liquid state, the temperature has to be brought down at 20 K. Due to these constraints, it is quite difficult to use this fuel efficiently. Hence experts around the world are conducting researchers to find ways on how to use this fuel in a simple way in the future.

Production of Hydrogen Fuel

  • Since pure hydrogen is not naturally available in large quantities on earth, it demands primary energy to obtain on an industrial level. Some frequent methods of production are steam methane reforming and electrolysis.
  • Production through Steam-methane reforming-
    • Extraction of hydrogen from methane
    • Liberating carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere
    • These gases help in the greenhouse effect and contribute to the change of climate.
  • Production through electrolysis –
    • Separation of oxygen and hydrogen atoms
    • This process can use solar, hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal, fossil fuels, and nuclear energy
    • It is a cost-effective method.

Hydrogen Economy

  • The term “hydrogen economy” or “economy of hydrogen” refers to the vision of using hydrogen as a low-carbon energy source. For example, replacing natural gas as a heating fuel or gasoline as a transport fuel.
  • The main benefit of this scheme is that the energy transmission is done in the form of hydrogen instead of electric power.
  • Presently, this fuel is used by mixing it with CNG gas to improve its efficiency. It is expected to be used on a wider scale in the coming years. This fuel is also used in hydrogen fuel cells to create electricity.

Uses of Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen fuel can provide power for cars, aeroplanes, boats, stationary or portable fuel cell application, which can power an electric motor. It is very difficult to store hydrogen in either cryogenic tank or high-pressure tank which is the main problem of using hydrogen fuel cell in cars.

Advantages of Hydrogen Fuel

  • On burning hydrogen, it emits only water vapour,
  • When hydrogen is burned it does not produce carbon dioxide.
  • Hydrogen deletes little tailpipe pollution and is considered less of a pollutant.
  • It has the ability to run a fuel-cell engine when compared to an internal combustion
  • engine.

Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

  • It is expensive. While widely available, hydrogen is expensive.
  • It is difficult to store. Hydrogen is very hard to move around.
  • It is not easy to replace the existing infrastructure.
  • It is highly flammable.
  • Fossil fuels are often used to produce it.


Can Hydrogen be Oxidised in a Fuel Cell?


  • The hydrogen or any other fuel is oxidised electrochemically inside the fuel cell to produce a potential difference i.e.. , a voltage capable of producing a working current.
  • The overall chemical reaction in a hydrogen fuel electrochemical cell involves the oxidation of hydrogen by oxygen to produce only water.

What is the Future of Hydrogen Fuel Cells?


  • In the future, fuel cells could power our cars, with hydrogen replacing the petroleum fuel that is used in most vehicles today.
  • Many vehicle manufacturers are actively researching and developing transportation fuel cell technologies. Stationary fuel cells are the largest, most powerful fuel cells.

What is Hydrogen and Fuel Cells?


  • Cells of hydrogen water. A fuel cell combines electricity, heat, and water to generate hydrogen and oxygen. Sometimes, fuel cells compete with batteries.
  • Both convert the energy that a chemical reaction produces into usable electric power.

How Efficient is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell?


  • When the fuel cell is powered by pure hydrogen, it has the ability to be effective at up to 80 per cent. That is, 80 per cent of the hydrogen energy content is converted into electrical energy.
  • So, we have an efficiency of 80 percent in producing electricity and an efficiency of 80 percent converting it to mechanical power.

What Type of Reaction is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell?


  • A hydrogen fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that produces current that can work using a spontaneous redox reaction.
  • The net reaction to this is exothermic. The combination of the two half-cell potentials for the electrochemical reaction creates a positive potential for cells.

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