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Building Fuel Cell By Edward Jiang What is fuel cell fuel cell

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Building Fuel Cell By Edward Jiang What is fuel cell fuel cell Powered By Docstoc
					Building a Fuel Cell




    By: Edward Jiang
What is a fuel cell?

●   A fuel cell is a battery that converts hydrogen and
    oxygen into electricity and water
●   Fuel cells are currently being advocated for use in
    cars
●   Fuel cells do not produce any waste besides water
●   Fuel cells are currently being used in many space
    applications, as they can convert water into
    hydrogen and oxygen while the sun shines, then
    convert hydrogen and oxygen back into water and
    electricity when there is no solar power available
Materials Needed

●   Hydrogen + Oxygen
    –   To get hydrogen and oxygen, we need to perform
        electrolysis
    –   For that, we need water and electricity
●   Platinum
    –   Platinum acts as a catalyst to allow the hydrogen and
        oxygen to recombine into water, generating electricity
    –   Because platinum is expensive, I will use platinum
        razors
●   A Multimeter
    –   You can use a multimeter to measure the current and
        voltage of the electricity
Making and operating the fuel cell

●   First, we need to
    produce hydrogen and
    oxygen
●   Connect the platinum
    razors to wires (2)
●   Connect the wires to a 9-
    volt battery source
●   Plug the electrodes into
    water
Electrolysis

●   After plugging the
    electrodes into the
    water, they start
    bubbling
●   The bubbles are
    hydrogen and oxygen
    molecules, separated
    from the water
●   Electric energy is
    converted into chemical
    potential energy
Converting Hydrogen and Oxygen
to Electricity
●   Now, unplug the wires
    from the battery
●   Plug the wires into a
    multimeter
●   You will see some
    voltage and current
    appear in the meter
Results

●   There were only 0.2
    volts and 200
    microamps
    (200/1,000,000 amps)
    of power
●   That's 40 microwatts of
    power!
●   That is not enough to
    power anything
    substantial
Why would this produce so little
power?
●   Several reasons could explain why this fuel cell
    produced so little power
    –   Not enough platinum
    –   Not enough surface area on the electrodes
●   This could be a reason why fuel cell adoption is
    slow
    –   Platinum is one of the only metals that can act as a
        catalyst
    –   Platinum is expensive, and scientists still need to find
        ways to increase the efficiency of the fuel cell to make
        it viable for commercial use
The Physics of the Fuel Cell

●   Energy conversion is the main principle behind the
    fuel cell
    –   Electrical energy is converted into chemical potential
        energy (2H2O + Energy -> 2H2 + O2)
    –   Chemical potential energy is converted back into
        electric energy (2H2 + O2 + catalyst (platinum) -> 2H2
        + O2 + energy)
    –   Electric energy then can be converted into kinetic
        energy, to power a car or something
Conclusion

●   Although I have only built a crude fuel cell, this
    shows that fuel cell technology has some
    problems:
    –   Storage: It is hard to store hydrogen and oxygen
    –   Platinum: Platinum is not the cheapest material, and to
        get lots of volts and amps, you'll need more platinum
        than what I had
    –   Energy conversion: Converting energy again and again
        has a few disadvantages, as energy is lost into heat
    –   Electrolysis is only 60-80% efficient

				
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posted:7/16/2012
language:English
pages:10