Photo courtesy Ballard Power Systems
A fuel-cell stack that could power an automobile
A fuel cell provides a DC (direct current) voltage that can be used to power motors, lights or any number of electrical appliances. There are several different types of fuel cells, each using a different chemistry. Fuel cells are usually classified by the type of electrolyte they use. Some types of fuel cells show promise for use in power generation plants. Others may be useful for small portable applications or for powering cars.
The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is one of the most promising technologies. This is the type of fuel cell that will end up powering cars, buses and maybe even your house.