Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Hydrogen and Fuel Cells?
1. How do fuel cells generate electricity?
Much like a battery, a fuel cell produces electricity through an electrochemical reaction, which generates electricity without any combustion. Unlike batteries, fuel cells don't wear out and continuously provide electricity as long as there's a constant source of fuel and oxygen.
2. What do fuel cells emit?
Fuel cells typically generate electricity using hydrogen and emit only water and heat. For polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, hydrogen is fed into one side of the fuel cell, and oxygen is fed into the other. Hydrogen ions pass through a membrane and react with the oxygen on the other side to form H2O (or water) and create electricity.
3. When was the first fuel cell invented?
Welsh scientist Sir William Robert Grove is credited for inventing fuel cells in 1839. However, the technology wasn't used commercially until the 1960s.
4. How do you boost the amount of electricity a fuel cell system produces?
A single fuel cell produces about one volt of power. To increase the amount of electricity generated, individual fuel cells are combined to create a fuel cell stack. Depending on the application, a fuel cell stack might only contain a few cells, such as when used for portable power generation for laptops or other consumer electronics, or hundreds of individual cells, like when used to power passenger vehicles.
5. When were fuel cells first used in space?
NASA first used fuel cells in 1965 to power onboard electronics during the Gemini 5 mission, which broke the world's manned spaceflight endurance record. Fuel cells not only provided power but also water for astronauts. The technology improved and was used on all subsequent manned space missions including the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
6. Globally, how many hydrogen fuel cell boats and are on the seas?
Many countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia have deployed hydrogen fuel cell boats and vessels as part of their national hydrogen strategy. These countries are part of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy―a government to government partnership with more than 20 country members and the European commission working together to accelerate progress in hydrogen and fuel cells. There are currently two fuel cell passenger boats in production—the Energy Observer and Hynova 40—and multiple vessel companies are developing commercial ships powered by hydrogen.
7. What are the two most common ways to produce hydrogen gas used in fuel cells?
Since hydrogen does not exist as a gas on Earth, it must be separated from other elements. Hydrogen atoms can be separated from water, natural gas molecules or biomass. The two most common ways to produce hydrogen are steam reforming (using high-temperature steam to produce hydrogen from natural gas) and electrolysis (splitting water).
8. How do you refuel a fuel cell electric boat or ship?
To refill a fuel cell electric boat, you pump hydrogen gas from a hydrogen fueling station directly into the tank. Fuel cell electric boats can have a driving range of more than 500 nautical miles on one tank of hydrogen. Since fuel cell systems are more than two times as efficient as an internal combustion engine, you need half the amount of hydrogen to go just as far.
9. In general, how much hydrogen is produced in the Europe every year?
Hydrogen is a standard industrial chemical commodity today. In the European Union, approximately 10 million metric tons of hydrogen are produced every year, most of which is used for petroleum recovery and refining purposes as well as fertilizer (ammonia) production.
10. Which state has the most hydrogen fueling stations?
Europe had 200 hydrogen stations at the end of the last year, 100 of which are in Germany. France is still second in Europe with 34 operating stations, and with 38 planned hydrogen stations it currently shows the strongest growth in Europe.
11. How much of the known universe mass is made up of hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. About 75 percent of all matter is composed of hydrogen.
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