With a few materials and an afternoon, you can make your own model of a water-powered car. Using a toy remote-control car and some items you can purchase online, you can show how effective hydrogen powered fuel cell cars will be in the future. This activity is perfect for a science fair or school project showcasing renewable green energy. This project will take some time, but you will have a fun, working model of a hydrogen powered, fuel cell vehicle when you are finished.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 1:32 scale remote control vehicle
- Double reversible fuel cell
- 2 30-mL gas storage cylinders
- 2 alligator clamps
- Silicone tubing
- Plastic syringe
- 5 volt DC to DC step up
- 22-gauge hookup wire
- 6 banana connectors
- 3 volt solar panel
- Distilled water
Convert from battery to fuel cell. Install the DC to DC step-up circuit into the car's remote control. Connect the positive and negative terminals of the DC to DC step-up PCB to the remote's postive and negative terminals in the battery box using banana connectors.
Fill the cylinders with distilled water. Use two 6-inch lengths of silicone tubing, one to each cylinder. Plug the end of one of the pieces of the tubing into the black side of the fuel cell terminal. Plug the end of the other length of tubing into the red side of the fuel cell terminal. Using a 2-inch piece of silicone tubing, attach the hydrogen side and oxygen side of the cylinders to the fuel cell.
Fill the fuel cell with water. Using the syringe on the 2-inch length of tubing, draw the water through the fuel cell. Clamp the ends of the tubing.
Connect the solar panel's positive terminal to the red, oxygen side of the fuel cell.
Connect the solar panel's negative terminal to the black, hydrogen side of the fuel cell.
Place the solar panel in direct sunlight. The solar panel produces hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis. This process may take up to 30 minutes.
Disconnect the solar panel from the fuel cell. Attach the DC to DC step-up to the positive and negative terminals of the fuel cell. You are now ready to drive. The charge on the remote control should last about 10 to 15 minutes. To "refuel," begin at Step 4 and start the electrolysis process again.
Tips and warnings
- Many of the items needed for this project can be found at an electronics store such as Radio Shack. Others may only be available online. An online search engine can locate sources for buying these products online.
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