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Case Study Outline. Introduction (2) Fuel Cell Technology (1) Infrastructure (1.5) Global warming, Oil supply safety, Political issues, pollution,… Fuel-Cell Technology The US Government and the Hydrogen Economy (1.5) European Union and Japanese Efforts (0.5)

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Case study outline
Case Study Outline

  • Introduction (2)

    • Fuel Cell Technology (1)

    • Infrastructure (1.5)

      • Global warming, Oil supply safety, Political issues, pollution,…

      • Fuel-Cell Technology

    • The US Government and the Hydrogen Economy (1.5)

    • European Union and Japanese Efforts (0.5)

  • Focus of Government Efforts (1.5)

    • Production

    • Delivery

    • Storage

    • Conversion

    • Application

    • Education and Outreach

    • Codes and Standards

  • Constituents (1)

    • Oil companies

    • Oil-producing nations

    • Automobile manufacturers

  • Future (0.5)

  • What has been done since then?

  • What could have been done differently?





Introduction fuel cells the hydrogen revolution
Introduction: Fuel Cells – The Hydrogen Revolution?

CarbonDioxide Emissions and CarbonDioxideConcentrations (1751-2004)

1. External Implication:

  • Volatility in oil prices and sustained shortfalls due to far-reaching geopolitical and macroeconomic implications.

  • Rising of CO and other GHGs

  • Rapidly Growing of economic growth and Energy consumption in China and India

  • Global climate change by majority of mainstream scientists’ beliefs.

U.S. Anthropogenic GHGs Emissions by Gas, 2006(Million Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent)

Introduction fuel cells the hydrogen revolution1
Introduction: Fuel Cells – The Hydrogen Revolution?

2. Internal Implication :

  • High costs of development both viable fuel-cell technology and infrastructure for producing and distributing hydrogen.

  • Ambiguous supporting from federal government

  • Cost $10-20 billion to develop a network of hydrogen refueling stations.

  • In 2003, GM spent over $1 billion in fuel-cell R&D but had yet to commercialize any its vehicles.


  • Ambiguous the proposed level of supporting from federal government to overcome the “Chicken – and – egg dynamic.

  • Future role of fuel cells was too important to let market forces alone dictate the timing of what it hoped would be a “ hydrogen revolution.” – by Bush administration.

  • Past government in the U.S. and abroad had a questionalbe track record when sponsoring technologies.

Fuel cell technology
Fuel-Cell Technology



O&H Containers


Type of Fuel cell:

Alkaline fuel cell (AFC)

Phosphoric-acid fuel cell (PAFC)

Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)

Molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC)

Arranging two platinum electrodes with one end of each immersed in a container of sulfuric acid and the other ends separately sealed in containers of oxygen and hydrogen

Type of Fuel cell for the transportation:

PEM ( Proton change membrane or polymer electrolyte membrane)

Fuel cell technology1
Fuel-Cell Technology

Component of PEM fuel cell:

Consist of seven parts – All are assembled in a few mm thick.

- Proton exchange membrane: made of Teflon

- Two electrodes: Carbone Anode (-) and Platinum Cathode (+)

- Two porous backing for each electrode: made of carbon paper/cloth.

- Two exterior plates: made of stainless steel

Chemical processes:

Generate electricity by electrochemical reaction

Oxygen (O2) + Hydrogen (H2) H2O


Cryogeically cooled


Performance of PEM:

  • Each PEM produces ~ 0.7 volts of electricity.

  • Multiple fuel cells generates 200-300 volts to power a large electric motor.

  • Latest generation of fuel-cell in 2003:

  • - Comparable in size & weight

  • - More expensive 10 times, $30,000 than ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), $3,000

Fuel cell technology2
Fuel-Cell Technology

How does it work?:

Store H2 flow through channels in exterior plate and into anode, usually using Pt.

Resulting positive charge of H+, it is pulled through the membrane to the Cathode.

- The membrane prevent e- from traveling directly through the cathode.

3.The e- is forced into the external circuit that traveled around the membrane then into the cathode.

- This circuit is used to provide electricity to an electric motor, a rechargable battery, or another electric-power device

H+ and e- reach the cathode, atmosphere oxygen (O2) is forced into the cathode by a compressor.

- Pt catalyst in the cathode split the oxygen molecule in to 2 oxygen atoms.

5.O- & H+ bond to from H2O and small amount of heat

- Water and Heat are exhausted into the atmosphere as only by product of the process.







Pt is one of the world’s most precious metals. It is a barrier to reducing fuel-cell costs

Pt cost $865 per ounce – twice the price of goal.