Since the late 1830’s companies around the world have been striving to create a technology that can replace traditional batteries and generator technologies. They seek a technology that will help to overcome the pressing environmental concerns the world is facing. That is where the fuel cell comes in. Fuel cells are electrochemical energy devices that convert hydrogen and oxygen into water, which can then produce electricity and heat. They are most similar to the average household battery; however, while household batteries eventually die out or need recharging, chemicals are constantly flowing throughout the fuel cell so it never dies. The electricity and heat produced by fuel cells only emit water so there is no burning or combustions; therefore, no pollutants.

There are several kinds of fuel cells that use different chemicals. They differ in the electrolytes and gases used, which ultimately result in different operating temperatures. Below shows a chart of all the different types of fuel cells:

Due to their modular construction, fuel cells can be used universally in small devices to complete power stations. They are most promising in areas such as transportation, heating stations (for single or multi family houses for example), and small batteries used for items like MP3 players or cell phones.

While the discovery of the fuel cell was made in the mid 19th century, it is still a possibility to make additional developments and improvements. In order to improve the quality of the environment the application of fuel cells must be explored on a larger scale.