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Fuel-Cell Operation

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Fuel-Cell Type

Applications

Advantages

Limitations

Proton exchange membrane (PEM)

Electric utility
Portable power
Transportation

Low maintenance
Quick start-up

Expensive catalyst
Sensitive to fuel impurities

Alkaline (AFC)

Military
Space

High performance

Expensive removal of carbon dioxide from fuel and air required

Phosphoric acid (PAFC)

Electric utility
Transportation

Up to 85% efficiency
Able to use impure hydrogen

Expensive catalyst
Low power
Large size/weight

Molten carbonate (MCFC)

Electric utility

Flexible fuel type
Inexpensive catalyst
Highly efficient

High temperature enhances corrosion and breakdown

Solid oxide (SOFC)

Electric utility

Flexible fuel type
Inexpensive catalyst
Highly efficient
Low maintenance

High temperature enhances corrosion and breakdown