Fuel Cell Power: The Energy of the Future

Many scientific and engineering thought leaders consider fuel cell power stacks as the primary technology in the evolution of electronic or alternative fuel automobiles within the next decade. According to Makino, a global provider of advanced machining technology, technologically advanced vertical machining centers are proven to be the ideal method for machining and manufacturing molds for the production of fuel cell power stack separator plate membranes. These membranes are the key to producing affordable fuel cell power stacks. Certain rigid and thermally stable vertical machining centers can produce a depth accuracy within 2 microns, and a superior surface finish quality of 0.4 microns in 40 Rockwell C steel molds, both of which are essential in making such plastic and rubber membranes. These membranes have to be of high quality and specification to establish the proper electrochemical conversion process to convert hydrogen and oxygen from the air into water. The process flow then produces electricity and heat, especially when configured in a fuel cell stack via a reformer, which controls and regulates the hydrogen for safety. Such an electrolyte or proton-exchange membrane separates and buffers the negatively charged anodes, repelling electrons, and the positively charged cathodes, attracting electrons. The membrane allows the electrons to flow through it to the cathode side of the fuel cell stack, generating electricity. Combustible fuels burn, and standard batteries store electrical energy as chemical energy and convert it back again. But a fuel cell stack provides direct current power. Unlimited supplies of fuel cell stack energy can be created via the mass production of low-cost membranes, which can be a growing market for most machine shops equipped with technologically advanced verticals. This energy source can not only be used as power for automobiles but also as power for utility companies and home generation units, offering the world low-cost, safe, quiet, efficient, environmentally friendly and readily available power solutions.

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