The GEI-X5 Fuel Cell is an Electric Power generation system. It operates on affordable natural gas or bio gas and does not need or require pure hydrogen to produce electric power like traditional fuel cell systems.
Fuel cells are a highly efficient, virtually pollution free source of electricity that can power buildings, automobiles and a host of consumer applications.
A fuel cell is a device that produces electricity using a ‘chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, with heat and water as byproducts. Hydrogen fuel cells work simply, have no moving parts, and therefore operate silently. A fuel cell uses natural gas to extract the hydrogen and air to extract the oxygen it combines hydrogen and oxygen without combustion to DC electrical power. The electricity is produced with far greater efficiency than most other non-renewable generation methods, such as internal combustion engine generators. The efficiency of fuel cell systems is approximately 30 to 40 %. Unlike the traditional “combustion” process that occurs within say an automobile, a chemical reaction is more efficient with smaller losses, and without harmful by-products that contribute to global warming.
In principle, a fuel cell is an electrochemical device that operates like a battery. However, unlike a battery, a fuel cell requires refueling and not recharging. A fuel cell will continue to produce electricity, heat & water as long there is a constant fuel source.
The promise of fuel cells for the on-site production of electricity is great. Many say fuel cells may do for the power industry what desktop computers have done for the computer business. Just as cellular phones and satellite TV have “unwired” their respective industries, fuel cells may herald a new age in electrical power distribution. For developing countries, which have not already made massive investments in electrical utility infrastructure, the rewards are even greater. The residential fuel cell may well be the vehicle by which the masses learn to think “outside the box” when it comes to their electrical power.
Fuel cell systems have a purpose similar to the conventional generator that many already use for primary or standby emergency backup power production, e.g. chemical energy from fuel is converted to electrical power. However, in the case of a generator, fuel is converted to mechanical energy by an internal combustion engine. This mechanical energy in turn drives an electrical generator or alternator to produce electrical power. The primary by-products are heat, CO2 (carbon dioxide), and water. With most fuels, there are also some emissions including CO (carbon monoxide) and various oxides of nitrogen and sulfur. Typically, the energy efficiency of these internal combustion generators is approximately 10 to 20 percent. That means that about 80 to 90 percent of the potential energy in the fuel is not converted to electricity.
The fuel cell power system likewise converts chemical energy to electrical power, but with a considerably simpler and more efficient path. First the fuel is converted to hydrogen by a series of chemical reactions in a “fuel processor”. The resulting hydrogen is then combined with oxygen from the air in the fuel cell to produce DC electrical power in a single step.
Regardless of the fuel used, the chemical by-products of the complete process are almost entirely CO2, water, and nitrogen. Considerable low-grade heat suitable for home heating also results.
The Byproducts of Heat and Water:
The fuel cell system produces waste heat that is easily used for home space and water heating. A simple heat exchange is all that is needed to make the transfer of fuel cell heat to the home. In fact, most fuel cells use air or water cooling to regulate temperature for better efficiency. The plumbing for heat exchanging is already there and requires little additional cost.
Often residential fuel cell system uses a single machine as both a furnace and a fuel cell generator. When home heating requirements exceed the waste heat produced by the fuel cell system, additional natural gas is added to the natural gas fuel processor burner to make up any deficit.
Waste heat from engine generators is seldom used due to the carbon monoxide threat and the inconsistent availability of the heat. Fuel cells, in contrast, pose no such hazard and continuously produce some level of usable heat.
In a typical American home, the energy consumed for electrical power (except heating) and the energy consumed for domestic hot water heating are about equal. The heat byproducts from a fuel cell system just about perfectly meet the water heating needs for the average home. One manufacturer’s system produces about 1.3 KW of recoverable heat energy for every 1 KW of electrical energy generated.
Since certain fuel cells provide both heat and power, a fuel cell can harness up to 90%+ of the energy in a fuel, while the electricity grid is only about 33% efficient. Our fuel cells achieve 40-50% fuel to electricity efficiency when using hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas or pure hydrogen. Fuel cells operating on natural gas provide a high degree of dependability and security, and the by-product heat can be used as an energy source for additional electric via a Rankin power generator, or can be used as an energy source for both heating and air conditioning, i.e.. Tri-generation (Power, Heating and Cooling). Additionally, fuel cells are more dependable than traditional power delivery systems.
A fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched round an electrically conductive material called an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode (cathode) and hydrogen over the other (anode), generating electricity, water and heat. A fuel cell system can use the hydrogen from any hydrocarbon fuel. Natural gas (chemical combination of carbon and hydrogen atoms) is perhaps the most common fuel, but other hydrocarbon fuels, such as methanol and gasoline, can also be used. Oxygen (or air) enters the fuel cell through the cathode. When encouraged by a catalyst, the hydrogen atom splits into a proton and an electron, which take different paths to the cathode. The proton passes through the electrolyte. The electrons create a separate current that can be utilized before they return to the cathode, to be reunited with the hydrogen and oxygen in a molecule of water.