Fuel cells are much more efficient in converting fuel into energy than internal combustion engines. The most efficient type of fuel cell is the Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC).
Fuel cells convert fuel into electricity. The amount of energy stored depends on the quantity of fuel. Hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells, such as the low temperate alkaline fuel cell, have zero carbon footprint, are totally non-polluting, and in addition to electricity, they produce pure water.
Alkaline Fuel Cells (AFC) were used to power the Apollo Moon Mission in the 1960s, in which liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen were converted to electricity and drinking water. The catalyst used was the precious metal platinum, until recently virtually the only choice to fulfill the power requirements of low-temperature fuel cells.
In collaboration with Prof. Karl Kordesch, Apollo Energy Systems continued the development of the circulating electrolyte AFC at the University of Graz, Austria, and introduced the concept of hydrogen storage in the form of compressed liquid ammonia. We developed and patented the ammonia cracker to feed hydrogen directly into the AFC.
Phase 2 of this program is now underway. Apollo has had success with taking out all of the precious metals from the fuel cell electrodes, thereby giving our Apollo AFC the potential to be the lowest cost of all fuel cells on the market.
Fuel cells operate most efficiently at a constant power output. Therefore, the AFC is coupled with a battery to provide peak power – the battery is then recharged by the fuel cell during periods of low power demand.
The Apollo Power Plant consists of the fuel cell stack, balance of plant, Tri-polar lead-cobalt battery, inverter, and associated electrical systems.
The Apollo Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC) is under development, however, once commercialized, the AFC offers many potential advantages over other types of Fuel Cell.
Summary - Advantages of the Alkaline Fuel Cell
over Other Types of Fuel Cell
1. Higher efficiency than other types of fuel cells – up to 60%
2. Low Cell Operating Temperature
3. For low temperature fuel cells, easiest to replace platinum catalyst with non-precious metal catalyst
4. Potentially least expensive of all fuel cell types with non-platinum catalyst.
5. Intermittent operation extends life.
6. Easily adaptable to Hydrogen storage in the form of ammonia. Unlike other fuel cells, traces of un-cracked ammonia in the AFC do not poison the fuel cell, allowing use of inexpensive ammonia cracker.
7. Alkaline membranes are being introduced to replace circulating electrolyte, thereby making the fuel cell much more compact and simple in operation.
APOLLO POWER PLANT NOTES
DESCRIPTION OF SYSTEM (UNDER DEVELOPMENT).
The Power Plant consists of FUEL STORAGE, FUEL DELIVERY SYSTEM, FUEL CELL STACK, BALANCE OF PLANT COMPONENTS, STORAGE BATTERY & ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS and ELECTRONIC MONITORING AND CONTROL.
See MARKET for the many potential uses of the Apollo Power Plant.
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