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Fuel Cells

A type of galvanic cell which promises to become increasingly important in the future is the fuel cell. By contrast to a conventional cell, where only limited quantities of oxidizing agent and reducing agent are available, a continuous supply of both is provided to a fuel cell, and the reaction product is continually removed. A somewhat oversimplified diagram of a fuel cell in which the cell reaction is the production of water from hydrogen and oxygen is shown in Fig. 1. Hydrogen enters the cell through a porous

Figure 1 A hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell.

carbon electrode which also contains a platinum catalyst. Oxygen is supplied to a similar electrode except that the catalyst is silver. The electrolyte is usually a warm solution of potassium hydroxide, and the two electrode reactions can be written as H2(g) + 2OH(aq) 2H2O(l) + 2e and O2(g) + H2O + 2e 2OH(aq) H2(g) + O2(g) H2O

(1a)

(1b) giving the overall result

The Carnot cycle when acting as a heat engine consists of the following steps:
1. Reversible isothermal expansion of the gas at the "hot" temperature, TH (isothermal heat addition). During this step (A to B on Figure 1, 1 to 2 in Figure 2) the expanding gas makes the piston work on the surroundings. The gas expansion is propelled by absorption of quantity Q1 of heat from the high temperature reservoir. 2. Isentropic (reversible adiabatic) expansion of the gas (isentropic work output). For this step (B to C on Figure 1, 2 to 3 in Figure 2) the piston and cylinder are assumed to be thermally insulated, thus they neither gain nor lose heat. The gas continues to expand, working on the surroundings. The gas expansion causes it to cool to the "cold" temperature, TC. 3. Reversible isothermal compression of the gas at the "cold" temperature, TC. (isothermal heat rejection) (C to D on Figure 1, 3 to 4 on Figure 2) Now the surroundings do work on the gas, causing quantity Q2 of heat to flow out of the gas to the low temperature reservoir. 4. Isentropic compression of the gas (isentropic work input). (D to A on Figure 1, 4 to 1 in Figure 2) Once again the piston and cylinder are assumed to be thermally insulated. During this step, the surroundings do work on the gas, compressing it and causing the temperature to rise to TH. At this point the gas is in the same state as at the start of step 1.

Figure 1: A Carnot cycle acting as a heat engine, illustrated on a temperature-entropy diagram. The Figure 2: A Carnot cycle acting as a heat engine, cycle takes place between a hot reservoir at temperature TH and a cold reservoir at temperature illustrated on a pressure-volume diagram to TC. The vertical axis is temperature, the horizontal illustrate the work done. axis is entropy.

Rankine cycle
The Rankine cycle is a cycle that converts heat into work. The heat is supplied externally to a closed loop, which usually uses water. This cycle generates about 90% of all electric power used throughout the world,[1] including virtually all solar thermal, biomass, coal and nuclear power plants. It is named after William John Macquorn Rankine, a Scottish polymath. The Rankine cycle is the fundamental thermodynamic underpinning of the steam engine. Regenerative cooling is a method of cooling gases in which compressed gas is cooled by allowing it to expand and thereby taking heat from the surroundings, the cooled expanded gas then passes through a heat exchanger where it cools the incoming compressed gas

Regenerative cooling is a method of cooling gases in which compressed gas is cooled by allowing it to expand and thereby taking heat from the surroundings, the cooled expanded gas then passes through a heat exchanger where it cools the incoming compressed gas