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2007-08 Seminars


Fuel Cell Technology and Public Policy

Gong Zhang, Ph.D.
Senior Engineer
Stationary Fuel Cells
Siemens Power Generation

Abstract
As an emerging power generation technology fuel cell is catching increasing attention due to its strategic importance to the modern society. In this presentation fundamentals of fuel cells and their operating principles are introduced with focus on high-temperature solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The unique technical characteristics determine their diverse applications ranging from lab top computers, automobiles, auxiliary power unit (APU) to central power plants. Though it is very promising fuel cell technology is still at the early stage of pre-commercialization facing many technical, financial, political hurdles, most of which share the “egg-and-chicken” type of dilemma. In order to break the vicious cycle the path forward for fuel cell technology development will be discussed under the context of national research, energy, and environmental policies.