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Fuel Cells- New Energy for the Future

Jeffrey Havelin, PE

This course will review the design, operation, and theory of fuel cells, with an emphasis on the hydrogen based fuel cells in operation today.

More people are driving more cars today than ever before, more than 200 million vehicles are on the road in the U.S. alone. But the car has contributed to our air and water pollution and forced us to rely on imported oil from the Middle East, helping to create a significant trade imbalance. Today many people think fuel cell technology will play a pivotal role in a new technological renaissance, just as the internal combustion engine vehicle revolutionized life at the beginning of the 20th century. Such innovation would have a global environmental and economic impact.

Hydrogen-powered fuel cells represent a radically different approach to energy conversion, one that could replace conventional power generation technologies like engines and turbines in applications such as automobiles and small power plants.

Expanded use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for America could help address concerns about energy security, global climate change, and air quality. Hydrogen can be derived from a variety of domestically available primary sources, including fossil fuels, renewables, and nuclear power. Another key benefit is that the by-products of conversion are generally benign for human health and the environment. Despite these compelling benefits, realization of a hydrogen economy faces multiple challenges. Unlike gasoline and natural gas, hydrogen has no existing, large-scale supporting infrastructure—and building one will require major investment. Although hydrogen production, storage, and delivery technologies are currently in commercial use by the chemical and refining industries, existing hydrogen storage and conversion technologies are still too costly for widespread use in energy applications.

This course is based entirely on Fuel Cells Green Power- Publication LA-UR-99-3231, published by Los Alamos National Laboratory under contract with the US Department of Energy. This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials. You will be quizzed on the attached document in its entirety.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.