It is essentially an electric car, with the electricity supplied by a fuel cell stack. The clever part happens inside the fuel cell itself - in simple terms, hydrogen from the fuel tank is combined with air and passed through a membrane, which creates the electricity used to power the car’s electric motor.
This Nexo uses what’s known as a PEM Fuel Cell – PEM stands for Proton Exchange Membrane or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane. Here’s what happens:
- A fuel cell has two electrodes, an anode and a cathode, separated by a membrane.
- Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other.
- The hydrogen reacts to a catalyst on the electrode anode that converts the hydrogen gas into negatively-charged electrons (e-) and positively charged ions (H +).
- The electrons flow out of the cell to be used as electrical energy.
- The hydrogen ions move through the electrolyte membrane to the cathode electrode where they combine with oxygen to produce heat and water.
The diagram below shows how the process works in the car: