William R Grove: The Fuel Cell and the Hydrogen Economy
William Robert Grove (1811-1896) was a physical scientist who is known as “the father of the fuel cell”. His pioneering research on fuel cell technology and on the conservation of energy was sufficiently groundbreaking and renowned for him to become a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1840. Born in Swansea, he was also a founder of what became the Royal Institution of South Wales in 1838. In terms that are intelligible to non-scientists and interested lay persons, Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas describes Grove’s work on the fuel cell and assesses the contemporary significance of his discovery and its potential for the development of the hydrogen economy – the use of hydrogen, in conjunction with a fuel cell, to provide a low-carbon source of energy.