Fuel cells are electrochemical devices which convert the energy of a chemical reaction directly into electricity, with heat as a by-product. They are similar in principle to primary batteries except that the fuel and oxidant are stored externally, enabling them to continue operating as long as fuel and oxidant (oxygen or air) are supplied. The PAFC system is attractive for a range of potential applications, stationary, distributed power generation and transport application.Advantage- Fuel cells offer High efficiency, low emissions and are in quiet operation.
Energy conversion is one of the prime areas of research. The recent thrust in hydrogen as energy carrier and proposal for hydrogen economy has initiated search for efficient methods for generation, storage, transportation of hydrogen technology for conversion of energy to suitable means. Fuel cells as offers a high efficiency of conversion, silent and environmentally friendly option for use by armed forces in remote and far flung areas. The solution to energy – power requirement has been addressed through development efforts in fuel cell power packs of different capacities, in situ generation of hydrogen from methanol, CNG and borohydride. The Phosphoric based fuel cell stack requirement for DC power with less noise and without any harmful emission in remote area.
DRDO has developed complete phosphoric acid fuel cell production technology of different capacity. The stacks have modular construction and are easily scale able up to 15 kW. The stack can either use pure hydrogen or reformed hydrogen / air as fuel and oxidant depending upon the type of catalyst. The technology of stack includes process for production of all the PAFC components, assembly of stacks, conditioning, operation and maintaining the stacks. The processes developed are simple and easily adapted for production.
With the fuel cell technology ,various power capacity fuel cell stacks range from 1kW to 5kW can be made that can be used for DC power for remote area and civilian area also.