SILVER

The Effects of the Muticell

A hydrogen fuel cell is an improvement to modern technology. Single fuel cell does not hold a lot of power needed, only around 2 volts. Fuel cell stack produce more energy
Kenneth Onekpe
Grade 6

Hypothesis

Can You Make A Hydrogen Parallel/Series Cell? 

Can You Stop It From Discharging?

If you connect multiple fuel cells  in a series circuit, then the voltage would be higher

More Cells= More Voltage= More Power

Research

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is an essential element for life. It is present in water and in almost all the molecules in living things.Hydrogen is easily the most abundant element in the universe. It is found in the sun and most of the stars, and the planet Jupiter is composed mostly of hydrogen.On Earth, hydrogen is found in the greatest quantities as water. It is present as a gas in the atmosphere only in tiny amounts – less than 1 part per million by volume. Any hydrogen that does enter the atmosphere quickly escapes the Earth’s gravity into outer space. 

 

Water

The type of water being used greatly affects the results of this experiment. Salt affects the conductivity of water, so there will be a difference in the conductivity between saltwater and freshwater. When salt goes into water, the particles break into tiny electrically charged particles called ions. Ions increase the water’s ability to conduct electricity. Therefore saltwater is about a million times more conductive than normal water. For my experiment I will be using saltwater. 

 

The Cell

A hydrogen fuel cell is an improvement to modern technology but a fuel cell isn't really a lot. It does not hold a lot of power needed, only around 2 volts. When you connect a motor or light bulb, it only produces 0.6-0.8 volts! Not a lot. But if you add more it becomes a fuel cell stack producing more energy. You may be wondering why you need a battery from this fuel cell. The battery is used to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen. You just cannot just find hydrogen. Since it is a light gas most of it is in the atmosphere. 

 

How to make Hydrogen: Electrolysis

There are many ways to make hydrogen. Some of the ways include Electrolysis: An electric current splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using a cathode, anode, electrolytes(salt) and catalyst(graphite).You can also make hydrogen using Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification: Synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide, is created by reacting natural gas with high-temperature steam. 

Natural Gas Reforming/Gasification: Synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide, is created by reacting natural gas with high-temperature steam

Electrolysis Diagram - Buy this stock vector and explore similar vectors at  Adobe Stock | Adobe Stock

 

 

Fuel Cell Stack: Multi Cell

Fuel cells work like batteries, but they do not run down or need recharging.In a hydrogen fuel cell, a catalyst at the anode separates hydrogen molecules into protons and electrons, which take different paths to the cathode. The electrons go through an external circuit, creating a flow of electricity.

Water splits at the catalyst into hydrogen and oxygen. The negative electrode produces hydrogen, the positive one produces oxygen. In a hydrogen fuel cell, a catalyst at the anode separates hydrogen molecules into protons and electrons, which take different paths to the cathode. The electrons go through an external circuit, creating a flow of electricity.

 

AleaSoft - fuel cell stack

 

 

Variables

Manipulated Variable: In this experiment the manipulated variable will be the amount of fuel cells taking power from the battery.

Responding Variables: The responding variable will be the Current, Voltage. Resistance and Power measured

Controlled Variable: There will be many controlled variables. Some of them include: The same type of water and salt, the same type wire, the same battery ,the same multimeter ,the same aluminum wire ,the same surface and the same house, the same materials .

Procedure

Materials

You will need:

  • An empty plastic bottle
  • Cutter
  • Scissors
  •  3 150ml of Water
  •   3 ⅛ Table salt
  • 6 lead pencils
  • Scotch tape
  • 3 9V battery
  • 10 battery clips
  • Multimeter
  • Red and Black wire
  • Aluminum Wire

Procedure

  1. Make a beaker by cutting the plastic bottle
  2. Sharpen both ends of 2 pencils using a cutter
  3. Join the 2 pencils using the scotch tape
  4. Fill half of the beaker with water, add ⅛ of a cup of salt and stir well
  5. Put pencils in salt solution
  6. Connect a pencil lead to the negative terminal of the battery with black connecting wire
  7. Connect the other pencil lead to the positive terminal of the battery with the read connecting wire
  8. Leave it for 2 to 3 minutes
  9. When you smell the hydrogen, ( it smell really weird)take out the pencils and measure the voltage. Do this 3 times
  10. Get 2 more balck wires and two more red wires. 
  11. Connect the 3 individual fuel cells in series
  12. Connect black to black to black, red to red to red
  13. Observe. Check for bubbles in the water
  14. Test with a light bulb or motors 
  15. Record current, voltage and resistance reading

Repeat this experiment for at least 6-8 trials to get an average reading. Calculate the power using the measured current, voltage and resistance.

Observations

For my quantitative data I will be observing the voltage and the amps of the water so I can know the power. With this data I will find out if hydrogen multicell actually provides more power than a normal cell . For my qualitative data I will observe what is happening in the water if the water is bubbling. I will observe the voltage and amps of the water by using a multimeter.

 

Measured Voltage

Current (Amps)

Resistance(Ω Ohms)

Calculated Voltage(Voltage)

Power(Watts)

 

6.51

0.33

17.91

5.9103

2.1483

W

6.72

0.33

17.91

5.9103

2.2176

W

6.62

0.33

17.91

5.9103

2.1846

W

19.85

0.33

   

6.5505

W

 

 

Analysis

Single Cell Vs Multi Cell

Sigle cell produced lesser voltage and more current compared to the muti cell. However, when you calculate the power, the muticell  has more power and more voltage. For the muti cell, the voltage of all the cells were high. I thought the voltage would be about 3.5. But the voltage for each cell was suprisingly 6. The current was sadly really low, but enough so there is still some power in the cells. While I was doing this experiment I noticed the amperage going down. It went from 0.33-0.31 which isnt really a big jump but it is still something. I think the current of the cell was going down because the battery was slowly discharging over time.

 

Series Vs Parallel Circuit

Connecting cells in series generated more voltage and power compared to when I connected them in parallel. The current in the serie circuit did not change.

Conclusion

With this experiment I can conclude that you can make a hydrogen multicell and it will work. But I also learned from this project that the hydrogen fuel cell does not discharge. It just needs a constant supply of hydrogen which you cannot get naturally. So you have to continually use the battery to work the fuel cell and provide power.

Now, you may be wondering, won’t the power just be from the battery? Actually no. If you measured the battery’s voltage beforehand it won’t be the same, It would be a lot less than what is being produced.

Also, as my voltage is high, why is the current low? That is because there is a lot of electrical components involved in the circuit. So, cutting the resistance by half and leaving the voltage unchanged will double the amperage across the circuit. This just means removing the number of electrical components.

 

More cells = More power  

 

Improvements

•You can increase the voltage of the fuel cell by expanding its surface area
•Adding more water and salt- This does not increase the amperage so much, but it increases it a little bit
•Increase the number of cells.
•Series connection had more power than parallel connection
•Measure the voltage immediately
•Use something besides plastic to stop a short circuit
 

Extension

•What other fuel cells can I make?
•Why do bubbles form in the water?
•Why does graphite work as a catalyst?
•Can I make my fuel cell smaller and have a compact cell
•How do I use solar energy to separate the hydrogen from water instead of using battery?

 

 

Application

My project has a lot of real life application.

  • My project has a lot of real-life application. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel. It can be used in vehicles and power plant
  • The hydrogen fuel cell will help technology prosper and stop the effect of Global climate change.
  • Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water.
  • Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind.

Today, 95% of the hydrogen produced in the United States is made by natural gas reforming in large central plants.

Sources Of Error

  • Measured the voltage immediately
  • Use something besides plastic to stop a short circuit
  • Use more salt and water
  • Put a paper towel under it to prevent spilling
  • Use a higher voltage battery

 

 

Citations

Energy.gov, www.energy.gov/.( March, 2021)

“Fondriest Environmental, Inc.” , Inc., www.fondriest.com/. ( March, 2021)

Homepage - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), www.eia.gov/ ( March, 2021)

Acknowledgement

I thank my teachers, Jason Bailie and Janet Summerscales for giving me feedback for my project .