The fuel cell is seen as the future powertrain for the car. The research department of Daimler AG is working hard since 1994, to continually improve this technique. The best example is the B-Class F-Cell, which will be launched in 2010 in a small series. It convinces through zero-emission, energy efficiency and good performance of a conventional combustion engine.
The principle of the fuel cell was discovered back in 1839 by the English physicist Sir William Grove, who devised the prototype of a small electrochemical power plant that generated electrical energy from hydrogen. In the fuel cell, a chemical reaction takes place between hydrogen and oxygen, in which electrical energy and heat are produced along with chemically pure water.
The fuel cell has a sandwich-like structure. Between two gas-permeable electrodes of graphite paper is the electrolyte, a proton exchange membrane or PEM for short. Since a single cell generates only a low voltage, several cells are united into stacks. The electrical energy generated in a stack powers the vehicle’s electric motor and supplies the fuel cell system’s peripherals.
Source: Daimler AG