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Principle - Functionality

The hydrogen fuel cell is a clean and efficient way to store energy and produce electricity.

With this system, students have a real example of new energy technology.

Using a bulb or solar energy, the solar panel in this system converts the light energy into electricity.

This energy is then used for electrolysis, which produces oxygen and hydrogen from water. The hydrogen is stored in a tank to be used later with the fuel cell.

The hydrogen is used as a fuel by the fuel cell, the oxygen being the combustive. The process that takes place in the fuel cell can be considered the reverse reaction to the electrolysis of water: water, electricity and heat is then produced from hydrogen and oxygen.

In the case of this system, the electricity produced by the fuel cell is used to operate a ventilator. This fuel cell has a performance level of about 50%.

The electrolyzer, like the fuel cell, is based on a proton exchange membrane (PEM). This membrane is composed of a solid polymer electrolyte positioned between 2 catalyzers. These form the cell’s cathode and anode.

One of the advantages of this type of battery is that it functions from the ambient temperature, as the start-up time is almost instantaneous.


Teaching objectives

· Electricity production from a solar panel.

· Current and voltage characteristics of a solar panel.

· Current and voltage characteristics of an electrolyzer

· Performance of an electrolyzer

· Current and voltage characteristics of a fuel cell.


Technical specifications

· Dimensions: 15 cm x 53 cm x 18 cm

· Solar cell: 2,5 V - 300 mA

· Voltage of the fuel cell: 0.3 – 0.9 V

· Power of the ventilator: 20 mW

· Voltage sensor CI-6503

· Current sensor CI-6556

· Interface: Science Workshop 500 or 750