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Fuel cells. Learning objectives: Revise the work covered so far on module 2 of EEE. Explain that a fuel cell uses the energy from the reaction of a fuel with oxygen to create voltage. Explain the changes that take place at each electrode in a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell. Starter

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slide1

Fuel cells

  • Learning objectives:
  • Revise the work covered so far on module 2 of EEE.
  • Explain that a fuel cell uses the energy from the reaction of a fuel with oxygen to create voltage.
  • Explain the changes that take place at each electrode in a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.

Starter

Spend a few minutes looking through the work covered previously on module 2 of EEE (pages 182 – 190).

slide2

Combine the following two half-equations to form a redox equation:

  • Cu  Cu2+ + 2e-
  • Ag+ + e-  Ag
  • Use oxidation states to construct a redox equation for the following reaction:
  • HBr is oxidised to Br2 by concentrated H2SO4, which is reduced to SO2
  • Draw a labelled diagram of a simple electrochemical cell made from a copper and a zinc half-cell combined together.
slide3

Draw a labelled diagram of a simple electrochemical cell made from a copper and a zinc half-cell combined together.

slide4

4. Which is the negative electrode?

5. Does oxidation or reduction happen at the negative electrode?

6. What is used as the standard electrode?

7. Draw a labelled diagram of a standard hydrogen electrode.

slide5

4. Which is the negative electrode?

  • 5. Does oxidation or reduction happen at the negative electrode?
  • 6. What is used as the standard electrode?
  • Draw a labelled diagram of a standard hydrogen electrode.
  • Why is platinum used as the electrode in this example?
slide6

Calculate the standard cell potential for the Fe2+/Fe and Cr3+/Cr cell if:

  • Fe2+ (aq) + 2e Ý Fe (s) E = -0.44 V
  • Cr3+ (aq) + 3e-Ý Cr (s) E = -0.74 V
  • Determine the overall cell reaction.
  • What are the limitations of predicting whether a reaction will occur based on electrode potentials?
  • State an everyday use of electrochemical cells.
slide7

Fuel cells

  • A fuel cell uses energy from the reaction of a fuel with oxygen to create a voltage.
  • They operate continuously (assuming fuel is continuously added) and do not need to be recharged.
  • They consist of the reactants flowing in, the products flowing out and an electrolyte which stays in the cell.

Next lesson we’ll talk about how they’re used and the advantages and disadvantages of fuel cells.

slide8

Hydrogen – oxygen fuel cell (alkaline)

Write an equation showing the overall reaction.

H2 + ½O2  H2O

These fuel cells can contain either acidic or alkaline electrolytes. Your exam is more likely to focus on the alkaline one (OH- ions).

Which reactant is reacting with the OH- ions? It will be the one undergoing oxidation as this is the only way to construct a balanced half-equation (think about the charges involved)?

H2 + 2OH-  2H2O + 2e -Negative terminal

The other reactant must be forming the OH- ions (as the electrolyte is effectively acting as a catalyst – it is not used up).

½O2 + H2O + 2e-  2OH-Positive terminal

slide9

Hydrogen – oxygen fuel cell (alkaline)

H2 + ½O2  H2O

H2 + 2OH-  2H2O + 2e-Negative terminal

½O2 + H2O + 2e-  2OH-Positive terminal

Check that the two half-equations add together to give the overall equation.

If the standard electrode potentials are as follows, calculate Ecell

2H2O + 2e-  H2 + 2OH--0.83 V

½O2 + H2O + 2e-  2OH- +0.40 V

Ecell = 0.4 + 0.83 = +1.23 V

slide10

Hydrogen – oxygen fuel cell (acidic)

H2 + ½O2  H2O

Now lets try the same for an acidic electrolyte.

Acid = H+ ions. Which of the reactants will react with H+ ions?

½O2 + 2H+ + 2e-  H2O Positive terminal

Which of the reactants will form H+ ions?

H2  2H+ + 2e-Negative terminal

slide11

Hydrogen – oxygen fuel cell (acidic)

H2 + ½O2  H2O

½O2 + 2H+ + 2e-  H2O Positive terminal

H2  2H+ + 2e-Negative terminal

Check that the two half-equations add together to give the overall equation.

If the standard electrode potentials are as follows, calculate Ecell

2H+ + 2e-  H20.00 V

½O2 + 2H+ + 2e-  H2O +1.23 V

Ecell = 1.23 – 0.00 = +1.23 V

slide12

Hydrogen – oxygen fuel cell (acidic)

porous titanium/

platinum anode

to catalyse the

reaction of O2

porous titanium/

platinum cathode

to catalyse the

ionisation of H2

e–

e–

e–

e–

e–

e–

e–

e–

Acidic membrane allows H+

ions to flow through it

H

H

H+

O

H

H+

H

O

H+

H

H

H+

O

O

H

H

slide13

Methanol fuel cell (acidic)

Write the equation for the combustion of methanol.

CH3OH + 1½O2  CO2 + 2H2O

Assuming we have an acidic electrolyte.

Acid = H+ ions. Which of the reactants can form H+ ions?

CH3OH + H2O  CO2 + 6H+ + 6e- Negative

Which of the reactants will react with H+ ions?

1½O2 + 6H+ + 6e-  3H2O Positive

Check that the two half-equations combine to give the overall equation.

slide14

Ethanol fuel cell (acidic)

Write the equation for the combustion of ethanol.

C2H5OH + 3O2  2CO2 + 3H2O

Assuming we have an acidic electrolyte.

Acid = H+ ions. Which of the reactants can form H+ ions?

C2H5OH + 3H2O  2CO2 + 12H+ + 12e- Negative

Which of the reactants will react with H+ ions?

3O2 + 12H+ + 12e-  6H2O Positive

Check that the two half-equations combine to give the overall equation.