HYDROGEN FUEL CELL CAR LABORATORY EXPERIMENT

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ABSTRACT
In this experiment, students will obtain knowledge about fuel cells, energy conversion, hydrogen fuel cells as a power source and their advantages and disadvantages. The students will also learn about HyRunner Module and how its movement is powered by hydrogen.

INTRODUCTION Diminishing resources, more severe environmental impacts and the ever increasing demand for energy force our population is to reconsider the structure of our energy supply system. Automobile industry and oil companies increasingly invest in hydrogen technology because it offers solutions to some of these concerns. This fascinating technology combines a large energy supply with minimal impact on our natural resources. The goal of this lab is for the students to become familiar with the terms and obtain knowledge on the subject.

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
CAUTION
In the fuel cell hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) react with each other. These gases represent a source of danger if handles improperly. In order to avoid any risks each students must follow General Safety Precautions.

GENERAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: LIST OF MATERIALS


LABORATORY PROCEDURE
  1. Watch and follow the instructions on the instructional video below.



  2. Repeat Step 1.

  3. The car is now filled with water.

  4. NOTE: When electric current is applied, the process of ELECTROLYSIS is occurring. In this process, distilled water will be split or decomposed into its components, hydrogen and oxygen. These gases are then accumulated in the gas storage tanks.

  5. Let the car run. At the end of the pathway, reverse the direction by lifting HyRUnner and rotating it 180 degrees.

  6. minutes



  7. Total distance = meters

  8. Car's speed = m/s

  9. KE = J

  10. Be sure to show your TA that your car is running.


MAINTENANCE
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS
The following data was collected from the same PEM electrolyzer that is used in your fuel cell car when it was connected to the power source. A PEM electrolyzer produces hydrogen and oxygen continuously if the applied DC voltage exceeds a certain value. The time, voltage and current values have been recorded in this table for various volumes (in 5 cm3 increments) of hydrogen gas produced.

Calculate the power for each time increment.
Table 1

VolumeH2[cm3]

t[s]

V[volts]

I[Amps]

P[Watts]; P = I X V

0

0

1.9

1.73

5

23

1.9

1.73

10

47

1.9

1.73

15

68

1.9

1.73

20

92

1.9

1.73


Plot the produced volume of H2 as a function of time on a graph. Plot the (X,Y) coordinates below.

Time

Volume


ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The energy efficiency nenergy is the ratio of energy out vs. energy in. The usable energy or the energy out is the chemical energy stored in the produced hydrogen, while the input energy is the electrical energy disippated by the electrolyzer.


where,
Hh: Calorific value of hydrogen (also called "higher heating value") = 12.745 x 106 J/m3
VH2: produced volume of hydrogen in m3
V: Voltage in volts
I: Current in Amps
t: time in seconds
Energy efficiency =

A relationship between the current and the theoretical volume of gas produced can be obtained using Faraday's second law and the equation of state for an ideal gas. The Faraday efficiency of the fuel cell is obtained from the ratio of the calculated theoretical volume of gas to the volume actually consumed.

Faraday's second law states,

Q=I x t = n x z x F

The equation of state for an ideal gas states,

p x V = n x R x T

Combining the two formulas, the volume of gas can be calculated as follows,



where,

V: theoretically produced volume gas in m3
R: Universal gas constant = 8.314 J/mol x K
p: Ambient pressure in Pa (1 Pa = 1 N/m2)
F: Faraday's constant = 96485 C/mol (1 C = 1 As)
T: Ambient temperature in K
I: Current in Amps
t: time in seconds
z (H2) = 2 i.e. 2 mols of electrons are required to release 1 mol of hydrogen.
z (O2) = 4
Vcalculated = cm3

The Faraday efficiency is obtained from the following equation,


VH2 produced = cm3

=


Thank you for participating in this laboratory experiment.


Please answer the following questions. Your answers will not be graded.


Disclaimer:
This laboratory experiment procedure may contain parts of various PASCO Accessory Manuals which are
copyrighted and reserve all their rights. The permission for reproduction is granted to non-profit education
institutions for reproduction of any part of Accessory Manual providing the reproductions are used only
for their laboratories and are not sold for profit.