624Proton Exchange Membrane

The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is also known as the solid polymer or polymer electrolyte fuel cell. A PEMFC contains an electrolyte that is a layer of solid polymer (usually a sulfonic acid polymer whose commercial name is NafionTM) that allows protons to be transmitted from one face to the other (Gottesfeld and Zawadinski, 1998). PEMFCs require hydrogen and oxygen as inputs, though the oxidant may also be ambient air, and these gases must be humidified. PEMFCs operate at a temperature much lower than other fuel cells because of the limitations imposed by the thermal properties of the membrane itself (Appleby and Yeager, 1986). The operating temperatures are around 90°C. The PEMFC can be contaminated by carbon monoxide, reducing the performance and damaging catalytic materials within the cell. A PEMFC requires cooling and management of the exhaust water in order to function properly (Gottesfeld and Zawadinski, 1998).

The development of PEMFC technology is primarily sponsored by the transportation sector, which includes most automobile manufacturers, and several companies specializing in the advancement and manufacture of PEMFC technology (e.g., Ballard, Allied Signal, Siemens, IFC, H-Power, Plug Power, Avista Labs, Energy Partners, etc.).

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.

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