Not all fuel cells are the same. EnerFuel uses high temperature PEM (HT-PEM) fuel cells. These enjoy the advantages of traditional PEM fuel cells in simplicity of construction and potential for low cost manufacturing. However, HT-PEM operates at a temperature ranging from 120°C to 180°C.
High temperature operation provides important advantages, including:
- Cathode produces steam not liquid water. This reduces flow field design and enables low pressure stack operation.
- Low susceptibility to CO and other fuel impurities. This enables the use of conventional fuels or lower purity hydrogen.
- Capacity to operate in hot environments. All fuel cells generate heat as a by-product of electricity production. In order not to overheat the system, this heat has to be transferred to the environment. High temperature operation reduces the size of the heat exchanger required to transfer heat.
- The heat produced is useful. High temperature heat can be used to condition or support high quality processes such as space-heating, water-heating, steam generation, or refrigeration cycles.