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Fuel Cells

Fuel Cells

Fuel cells use hydrogen as fuel, combining within the cell with oxygen from the air. Each hydrogen atom is separated into individual protons and electrons. The protons pass through the membrane and combine with oxygen to form water. The electrons, however, do not pass through the membrane in the cell. Instead, they flow through a circuit containing a motor, which harnesses the generated power.

Development History

The first fuel cell was developed, on paper, as early as 1843. However, the first successful fuel cell wasn't built until 1959. Early fuel cells were used by the early NASA missions. Until more recently, fuel cells required expensive materials -- pure oxygen and hydrogen, among others -- and were cost-prohibitive to the general public. Newer technology is being developed for cheaper fuel cell options.