What is a Fuel Cell?

A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy stored in fuels directly into usable electrical energy. Conventional gas generators create mechanical energy by combusting fuels, and then converting the mechanical energy into electricity via a generator (alternator). Fuel cells eliminate the additional conversion steps and provide usable electrical and heat energy directly from the stored chemical energy.

Fuel Cells

For instance, a battery in your phone holds only so much power and then it needs to be re-charged. Usually, batteries are re-charged with electricity from a standard wall outlet. But where does the electricity come from? It might come from a coal fired power station, a nuclear reactor, a hydro-electric dam such as Niagara Falls or any variety of other means depending where you live. But when you are at sea, out camping, in a disaster relief situation, or even when the neighborhood power goes out—then what do you do?