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How Hydrogen Fuels Cells Work
Physics Illustrations

The workings of a fuel cell

artwork provided by Richard Goodman & H Power Corp
The hydrogen fuel cell operates similar to a battery. It has two electrodes, an anode and a cathode, separated by a membrane. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other.

The hydrogen reacts to a catalyst on the electrode anode that converts the hydrogen gas into negatively charged electrons (e-) and positively charged ions (H+).

The electrons flow out of the cell to be used as electrical energy. The hydrogen ions move through the electrolyte membrane to the cathode electrode where they combine with oxygen and the electrons to produce water. Unlike batteries, fuel cells never run out.

Hydrogen Fuels Cells

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