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What is a fuel cell?

Fuel cells are a fundamentally different way of producing electrical power from a variety of fuels; they are an energy conversion device which produces electricity and heat by electrochemical combination of a fuel with an oxidant. A fuel cell consists of two electrodes - the anode and the cathode, separated by an electrolyte.

A key feature of a fuel cell is its high energy conversion efficiency, up to 60%. This is because a fuel cell converts the chemical energy of fuel directly to electrical energy without the intermediate of thermal energy.

Compared with conventional methods of power generation, fuel cells offer several advantages: substantially higher conversion efficiency, modular construction, high efficiency at part load, minimal siting restriction, potential for co-generation, and much lower production of pollutants.

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