DIY Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Generating Electric

Written by timothy burns
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DIY Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Generating Electric
Hydrogen fuel cells could hold the key for future energy demands. (touch the power image by Daniel Wiedemann from Fotolia.com)

A hydrogen fuel cell is an electrochemical device which produces energy stored in the chemical element, Hydrogen. By separating two hydrogen atoms, the fuel cell creates available electricity which can be stored, or used to power simple electrical devices. While the technology is still under development, commercially available hydrogen fuel cells can be adapted for home or hobby use.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Hydrogen fuel cell
  • lithium-ion battery pack
  • high pressure hydrogen tank
  • pressurised hydrogen gas
  • fuel cell cooling system
  • voltage regulator
  • power delivery system and circuitry
  • power inverter

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Identify the power requirements of the individual use. The hydrogen fuel cell stack produces DC or direct current voltage. Depending on the power requirements of the individual use, a number of hydrogen fuel cells may be needed.

  2. 2

    Purchase the required hydrogen fuel cells from a local or online dealer. Fully understand the limitations, and power delivery ability of the fuel cells purchased. Think of a hydrogen fuel cell as a battery, or a generator. The power produced from the fuel cells must be matched to the power requirements of the individual application.

  3. 3

    Mount the hydrogen fuel cells on a heat sink, or fuel cell cooling system. The hydrogen fuel cell will operate at approximately 120° - 140° F. Adequate heat dissipation is required for ongoing fuel cell operation.

  4. 4

    Connect the hydrogen fuel tank to the fuel cell according to the manufacturer's instructions. The hydrogen fuel cell will consume hydrogen gas and produce water by means of the chemical reaction which occurs inside the hydrogen fuel cell. A supply of pressurised hydrogen gas is needed to fuel the hydrogen fuel cell.

  5. 5

    Connect the hydrogen fuel cell to a DC current power supply. The chemical reaction which occurs within the fuel cell is catalysed by a small electric current, the supply-side current. The voltage and delivery amperage of the supply-side current must be regulated for proper fuel cell operation.

  6. 6

    Connect the hydrogen fuel cell output to a regulated power delivery system (which will directly deliver the energy into the home), or a high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack to use power at a later time. The fuel cell will create energy which can be either used immediately or stored in the battery pack. If used to power a standard household item such as light bulbs or a radio, a power inverter must be used to convert the DC direct current to a AC alternating current.

Tips and warnings

  • Creating any power generating system, or power delivery system for home use requires an advanced knowledge of electricity, voltage, temperature, and power delivery systems. This project should be undertaken only by individuals who have adequate experience with electrical systems, or under the supervision of qualified professionals.

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