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Role of a Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell in Remote Area Power Supply: A Review


This manuscript presents a thorough review of unitized regenerative fuel cells (URFCs) and their importance in Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS). In RAPS systems that utilize solar and hydrogen power, which typically include photovoltaic modules, a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer, hydrogen gas storage, and PEM fuel cells, the cost of these systems is currently higher compared to conventional RAPS systems that employ diesel generators or batteries. URFCs offer a potential solution to reduce the expenses of solar hydrogen renewable energy systems in RAPS by combining the functionalities of the electrolyzer and fuel cell into a single unit, thereby eliminating the need to purchase separate and costly electrolyzer and fuel cell units. URFCs are particularly well-suited for RAPS applications because the electrolyzer and fuel cell do not need to operate simultaneously. In electrolyzer mode, URFCs function similarly to stand-alone electrolyzers. However, in fuel cell mode, the performance of URFCs is inferior to that of stand-alone fuel cells. The presented review summarizes the past, present, and future of URFCs with details on the operating modes of URFCs, limitations and technical challenges, and applications. Solar hydrogen renewable energy applications in RAPS and challenges facing solar hydrogen renewable energy in the RAPS is discussed in detail.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways

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