Understanding our work

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce heat, water, and most importantly electricity. There are many types of fuel cells, but they all have the same basic structures, namely two electrodes called the anode and cathode, and an electrolyte to carry protons from one electrode to the other.

Basic build of a fuel cell

 

Often compared to with batteries, the main difference between fuel cells and batteries is that a continuous source of hydrogen and oxygen are required in fuel cells, producing electricity continuously as long as both are present. A battery however, obtains its energy only from chemicals already present in it.

 

NASA introduced the world to fuel cells

Fuels cells have been around since the 19th century. However they weren’t well-known until NASA used them to generate power for satellites and space capsules in their space programmes.

 

Today its use has expanded to cover many different fields, including for use to propel vehicles.

 

Fuel cells work best with pure hydrogen. Current methods of obtaining pure Hydrogen such as steam reforming, electrolysis, and thermolysis, requires the use of fossil fuels, introducing emissions into an otherwise zero-emission fuel. The process of electrolysis alone uses just electricity, but the methods of producing the required electricity may include fossil fuels.

 

MEMPHYS aims to provide another alternative to hydrogen production, namely through recovery and purification from other sources.