Fuel cells are considered chemical energy storage systems that produce electricity by oxidizing hydrogen or methane. They perform at a higher efficiency than heat engines and produce no carbon dioxide. Fuel cells are different from batteries in that they require a continuous fuel source to sustain the chemical reaction. As long as fuels are provided, fuel cells produce electricity.
There are different types of fuel cells, such as alkaline (AFC), polymer electrolyte membrane (PEMFC), direct methanol (DMFC), phosphoric acid (PAFC), molten carbonate (MCFC), or solid oxide (SOFC) fuel cells.
Characterization of the fuel cells includes electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) as well as polarization and power density curves of the cell pointing to the optimal operating conditions.