Energy storage and conversion is a very important link between the steps of energy production and energy consumption. Traditional fossil fuels are a natural and unsustainable energy storage medium with limited reserves and notorious pollution problems, therefore demanding a better choice to store and utilize the green and renewable energies in the future. Energy and environmental problems require a clean and efficient way of using the fuels. Fuel cell functions to efficiently convert oxidant and chemical energy accumulated in the fuel directly into DC electric, with the by-products of heat and water. Fuel cells, which are known as effective electrochemical converters, and electricity generation technology has gained attention due to the need for clean energy, the limitation of fossil fuel resources and the capability of a fuel cell to generate electricity without involving any moving mechanical part. The fuel cell technologies that received high interest for commercialization are polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The optimum efficiency for the fuel cell is not bound by the principle of Carnot cycle compared to other traditional power machines that are generally based on thermal cycles such as gas turbines, steam turbines and internal combustion engines. However, the fuel cell applications have been restrained by the high cost needed to commercialize them. Researchers currently focus on the discovery of different materials and manufacturing methods to enhance fuel cell performance and simplify components of fuel cells. Fuel cell systems’ designs are utilized to reduce the costs of the membrane and improve cell efficiency, durability and reliability, allowing them to compete with the traditional combustion engine. In this review, we primarily analyze recent developments in fuel cells technologies and up-to-date modeling for PEMFCs, SOFCs and DMFCs.
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