DuPont Commitment to Clean Energy
The need for clean, sustainable, and affordable fuel cell power has never been greater. DuPont is accelerating advancements in fuel cell technology with innovative materials and engineering solutions to power today's leading-edge transportation, as well as portable and stationary applications.
We partner with business leaders to create customized fuel cell solutions using DuPont™ Nafion® membranes and dispersions. DuPont provides the engineering expertise and fuel cell experience needed to help our partners develop advanced fuel cell applications.
Refer to thes topics for additional information about fuel cells:
What Is a Fuel Cell?
A fuel cell is an energy conversion device that combines a fuel and air to directly produce electrical power. Fuel cells offer the promise of high efficiency and low emissions when compared to conventional technologies. If pure hydrogen is used as a fuel, the only products of this process are heat, electricity, and water.
The main difference between fuel cells and conventional technologies is related to the number of steps required to convert the chemical energy of a fuel into useful electrical power.
Unlike a battery, a fuel cell does not store energy. Instead, it converts energy from one form to another (much like an engine) and will continue to operate as long as fuel is fed to it. However, unlike internal combustion generators, fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electricity without an intermediate conversion into mechanical power.
Fuel cells can provide clean energy for people. The benefits of using fuel cells include:
- clean, safe, quiet performance
- high energy efficiency
- low emissions ease in operating
Fuel Cell Types
There are five types of fuel cells and they are defined by the type of electrolyte used in the fuel cell. These include:
- proton exchange membrane (PEM)
- phosphoric acid
- molten carbonate solid oxide
PEM Fuel Cells
Recently, PEM fuel cells have become more cost-effective for many applications. There are three main types:
- hydrogen (pure)
- reformed hydrogen
- direct methanol (DMFC)
The differences in PEM fuel cells stem from how the hydrogen needed for the reaction is obtained.
The hydrogen used in reformed hydrogen systems is obtained from methanol or a hydrocarbon such as methane or propane. The reason it is called reformed hydrogen is that the methanol or hydrocarbon is processed in a device known as a reformer to produce the hydrogen just upstream of the fuel cell.
In a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) system, methanol is converted directly to hydrogen without the use of a reformer.