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Name: Agata
Status: student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
i realize that the by products of hydrogen fuel cells are water and heat.

my question is where is all this heat directed to?

if it is released into the atmosphere, aren't there any dangers in this?


Replies:
Less danger than with other electric power generation methods, because fuel cells are more efficient than other methods, that is, more of the energy used goes into electricity and less goes into heat.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois


Fuel cells are more efficient than even the best internal combustion engine. Little to no chemical pollution here -no greenhouse gases. Like all energy conversions systems, yes, heat is released, but less of it per unit of fuel used. Your question in the long-term is linked to a question of global warming, from all sources. But remember, no greenhouse gases are produced with THIS technology. What will be your mix of technologies? How much blanket warming will occur? What mechanisms (and what are their limits) does the earth have in its biosphere to dissipate excess heat before effects become significant? This is a very complex multi-variant problem.

In the short-term, your question boils down to a question of scale - fuel cell use is quite rare and will be for another 10+ years. So its significance to earth warming is/will be negligible! FC technology is obviously a step in the right direction, but costs are high. Breakthrough materials are needed to lower the cost.

Lou Harnisch



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