Fuel cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy by a chemical reaction with oxidizing agent. There are many types of fuel cells consisting of anode, cathode and electrolyte which help the charges to move between two sides of the fuel cells. Alkaline Fuel Cell or AFC uses alkaline electrolyte and is also known as Bacon fuel cell. It is one of the most developed and cheapest fuel cell technologies.
The Alkaline Fuel Cells are used since 1980s they have high power density and have long lifetime in certain applications which increase its usage in different areas. Some of the major factors responsible for the growth of fuel cell market are its better efficiency than PEM fuel cell in moderate conditions, quick start at sub-zero temperature, high conductivity compared to other fuel cells and low cost of electrodes. The growth of AFC market slowed down after the arrival of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell due to its lower power density. It is easily poisoned by carbon dioxide which affects cell’s operation. This requires purification of hydrogen and oxygen used in the cell making it a costly process. The alkaline Fuel Cell market has potential to succeed in certain market due to better efficiency in niche applications. More R&D activities in this technology will help to refine its application and usage and will turn into successful market offerings.
Alkaline Fuel Cell is mainly used in three types of markets. As backup power for communication towers in stationary market, as auxiliary power for worksites, boats in portable market and as electric vehicles, golf cars, fork lift vehicles in transportation market. The AFC was used in Apollo series to provide electricity on-board of the shuttle. This fuel cell consumes hydrogen and pure oxygen and produces hot water as waste product which can also be used for drinking by astronauts.
Some of the key players in the AFC market are Fuel Cell Energy, Bloom Energy, Toshiba, AFC Energy Plc and Ballard Power Systems Inc.
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- Asia Pacific
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