Grand Challenges in Fuel cell Technology towards Resource Recovery

Document Type : Grand Challenges


1 Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, American University of Sharjah

2 American University of Sharjah

3 Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering Department, University of Sharjah


Fuel cells are perceived as promising candidates for bridging the gap between the future clean energy path and the current ‘dirty energy’ path. Amongst a miscellany of fuel cell types, PEMFCs are utilized in several applications by virtue of their greater energy density and ecofriendly nature (if hydrogen is the fuel). Certain fuel cell types such as the PEMFCs can be employed to not only generate power, but also as electrolyzers to harvest oxygen and hydrogen for space applications.  The recovered oxygen can be used to meet oxygen requirements in the spacecrafts while the recovered hydrogen can be used to generate electricity. Other types of fuel cells (e.g., the microbial fuel cell (MFC)) simultaneously works to treat the wastewater and produce electricity. However, there are several challenges that hinder fuel cells from reaching their full potential. Large scale commercialization still requires the unraveling the technical issues that dent their reliability, durability, and robustness. Hence, major challenges in resource recovery remain to exist, such as the high cost, shortage of suitable noble catalysts, and reduced lifespan. The hurdle of technical problems should be overcome first to gain public trust; thereby, catalyzing the expansive commercial roll out of fuel cells and more intensive research towards resource recovery can be suitably promoted.

Graphical Abstract

Grand Challenges in Fuel cell Technology towards Resource Recovery


Fuel cells are promising candidates for power generation with zero to low carbon footprint.

Fuel cells are ideal for stationery and transportation sectors due to numerous advantages.

Large scale commercialization still requires the unraveling the technical issues such as durability, and cost.


Main Subjects

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