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How does a fuel cell work?


Frequently Asked Questions

A fuel cell consists of two electrodes - the anode and the cathode, separated by an electrolyte.

Fuel is fed into the anode where it is oxidised, releasing electrons to the external circuit. Oxidant is fed into the cathode where it is reduced and electrons are accepted from the external circuit. The electrons flow from anode to cathode, through the external circuit, producing direct-current electricity. The electrolyte conducts ions between the two electrodes.

In most systems, hydrogen is fed to the anode and ionised into a proton and an electron. The proton migrates to the cathode through the electrolyte, while the electron passes through whatever the cell is powering, and back again. At the cathode, the protons and electrons react with oxygen from the air to make water, the only waste product. 

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