a chemical source of current in which the reagents, usually gases or liquids, are continuously supplied to the electrodes in the course of an electrochemical reaction from specially constructed reservoirs (seeCHEMICAL SOURCES OF ELECTRIC CURRENT). Electrochemical generators consist of fuel cell batteries, systems for the storage and supply of the reagents and the removal of reaction products, and automatic monitoring and control units. In contrast to galvanic cells, they may continue operating as long as the reagents (fuel and an oxidizing agent) are being supplied and the reaction products are being removed.
Electrochemical generators in which hydrogen, an ecologically clean energy source, serves as the fuel, look promising. In the mid-1970’s, work was under way in the USSR, the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Japan, and other countries on the development and use of hydrogen-oxygen and, especially, hydrogen-air electrochemical generators. The use of such sources of electrical energy in radio and television equipment and in vehicles should help maintain a clean environment. The efficiency of oxygen-hydrogen electrochemical generators produced in the USSR and the USA has reached 70–80 percent. The efficiency of electrochemical generators operating at constant pressure and temperature with heat absorption from the environment may theoretically exceed 100 percent.
REFERENCESSee under CHEMICAL SOURCES OF ELECTRIC CURRENT.
N. S. LIDORENKO and G. F. MUCHNIK