Explore the Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology
The rise of our energy concerns induces a need for alternative energy solutions in order to create a more sustainable environment. Demonstrate how hydrogen fuel cell technology can be utilized as a potential solution to our energy concerns through a series of activities included in this kit. Students will consider the tradeoffs when various fuels, such as hydrogen, are used for powering vehicles. Students will then employ electrolyzers that are specially designed to use electric currents to break water down into hydrogen and oxygen gas and then analyze the chemistry and energy consumption involved in the process. In the next activity, students use a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell that generates electricity used to power a small electric fan as it consumes the hydrogen and oxygen. As the fuel cell operates, students will be able to measure the voltage and current of the electricity produced as well as the gas consumption. Students will also be introduced to oxidation-reduction reactions and half reactions as a means of creating electric current, illustrate how a PEM fuel cell operates through a computer simulation and manipulative model, and apply the concept of Gibb’s Free Energy to compute the efficiency of the fuel cell in converting the energy in hydrogen to electricity.