How Fuel Cells Work


Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction which utilizes the energy stored within a fuel.  There are three main parts to a fuel cell; the anode, the cathode and an electrolyte that separates them. 

In most fuel cells, fuel enters through the anode and oxygen (found in the air) enters through the cathode.   When the fuel cell receives fuel and oxygen a chemical reaction occurs.  During the chemical reaction, the hydrogen molecules are split into protons (positively charged particles) and electrons (negatively charged particles).  The protons pass through the electrolyte membrane, while the electrons are forced through a circuit, generating an electric current and heat.  Once the electrons pass through the circuit, they recombine with the protons and oxygen in the air to produce water.