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I am taking a course on fuel cells and we were talking about the activation energy needed to start a chemical reaction.

I would think that the answer to this question is that the anode potential should be increased to generate current so less energy is needed to begin the reaction.

Is this right? Or am I way off track.

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Use Nernst equation. If you increase anode potential, the cell potential becomes more negative, thus decreasing Gibb's energy. This makes the reaction less feasible.

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I believe you are off track. The anode itself does not have a potential. The potential is the difference between the cathode and the anode. Increasing the potential between the cathode and anode would result in more current but that has nothing to do with the activation energy.

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  • $\begingroup$ Each electrode has got its own potential with respect to the Standard Hydrogen Electrode. Yes, the anode has its own potential. $\endgroup$ – Aaron John Sabu May 1 '17 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ No. Then the potential would be between the anode and the standard hydrogen electrode. Potential is always relative and therefore u need to compare it to something else. $\endgroup$ – Clangorous Chimera May 2 '17 at 0:04

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