History of low temperature fuel cells

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Book Chapter

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From this chapter it will be seen that the history of the development of fuel cells runs through several phases. In a beforehand phase, the development of energy in its various forms and also of automobiles and especially electric vehicles has been described. Then it has been discussed that three scientific fields were beforehand of the fuel cell effect, namely the Chemical Technology of gases (discovery of hydrogen and oxygen), Catalysis, and electrochemistry (discovery of the battery by Alessandro Volta). The first phase started with the discovery of the fuel cell effect by Christian Friedrich Schoenbein in January 1839 and the invention of the fuel cell by William Robert Grove in 1842 and passed through the invention of porous electrodes and_stack formation to the introduction of a matrix for the uptake of the electrolyte in 1889. The second phase began with motivation by Wilhelm Ostwald. Many researchers dealt with high and low-temperature fuel cells and the development of hydrophobic electrodes. In the middle of the last century, the third phase began and the basis of our present systems was laid. The cell types of Bacon and Grubb lead to the application in space. The fourth phase started with the phosphoric acid fuel cell, and the uptake of the development of the proton exchange fuel cell and solid oxide fuel cell, also in Japan, which was followed by the technology development of fuel cells for transportation, for education, for stationary and for portable application.


Handbook of Fuel Cells


Fundamentals Technology and Applications

Year of Publication