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What is the difference between a fuel cell and a battery?

Both produce electricity. However, while a battery makes electricity from the energy it has stored inside the battery, a fuel cell makes its electricity from fuel in an external fuel tank (learn how a fuel cell works). This means that while a battery may run dead, a fuel cell will make electricity as long as fuel is supplied. For hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen is the fuel and it's stored in a tank connected to the fuel cell. When hydrogen in the tank runs low, you refill it, or replace it with a full tank.

Refueling vs. Recharging
While there are different kinds of hydrogen tanks and ways to store hydrogen, it's generally true that it's much faster to refill a hydrogen tank (just a couple minutes, depending on the tank) than to recharge a battery (a couple hours).

The lifetime of today's fuel cells is also a couple years longer than batteries, which give you less and less energy back every time you recharge them. Replacing your electricity source less often saves you money over time and reduces the environmental impact of disposing or recycling batteries.

Source: National Hydrogen Association

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