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### Topic: New Fuel Cell System Idea  (Read 27224 times)

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#### P-man

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2005, 06:46:25 PM »
Please remember that I'm only in grade eight and 13 yrs old. And my "dreams" will follow me through high school and university and I will help them materialize into actual designs.

Pi: I have considered solar panels on the car for electrolysis.
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#### buckminsterfullerene

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2005, 11:42:57 PM »
there are three different kinds of solar panels and they all differ in the efficiency that they will produce electricity, you will have to take into consideration the conditions that the car will be operating.  there are three kinds of solar panels, there is the crystalline, polycrystalline and the amorphous solar panels, their primary difference is the cooling process and their efficiencies are a direct cause to the cooling process.

*the crystalline forms uniform bonding caused by the slow cooling process and thus has the highest efficiency of all, under experimental conditions they have reached 24% efficiency.
*the polycrystalline solar cell cooled faster than the crystalline and thus tends to not form uniform shapes such that when photons hit the surface they will actually get deflected to some angles and some of the electrons will be lost, this brings the efficiency down to a mere 18%

*the high cost for these two solar cells is mainly due to the fact that the cells are very thin and generally have to be assembled (makes you wonder how do they get the intrinsic layer in a solar cell which is only a few atoms thick and separate the positive and negative layer   ) and they both take long to produce because they have to be cooled slowly.  but they genreally have a warranty for 25 years and will operate with out the need of having anything or anyone checking up on the system regularly (if you get a suntracker it will seek the angle to operate at its higher efficiency)

the third type of solar cell and probably the one that i think will have the most future ability is the amorphous solar cell, the advantage of this cell is the fast cooling process, that it does not have to be generally hand aseembled, can be mass produced, and the number 1 reason you can bend this one its not brittle at all and i have seen them in a roll, but under experimental conditions they have only reached 10% effieciency, however....
an interesting feature of this solar cell is that if you put one on top of the other it will increase the efficiency, but only to a maximum of only 15%
i advice that if you do get a solar panel you get an amorphous solar cell, which you can actually put around the project to generate electricity from the sun (and they are very cheaper you could easily get several for the price of one crystalline, the only difference is that a crystalline generally has a 25 year warranty and amorphous does not because it will lose efficiency over time faster), but you will probably need a higher voltage, and solar cells have to be placed in i believe series in order to achieve this, or in other words the negative has to be connected to the positive end for all the cells, and each cell produces 0.5 volts, no matter its size, the size only defines the current.  if you connect the solar cells in parallel, however, you will get a higher current but a lower voltage, due to the fact that the solar cells you will be connecting positive to positive and negative to negative and will just be making a system that is like a cell covering a larger area.
currently a student attending high school in South Florida, capital of all the hurricanes that come through the US, and the sunshine state.  My interests falls into electrochemistry going to renewable resources of energy, i like hydrogen fuel cells and solar energy

#### Dude

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2005, 12:01:20 PM »
Pi,

interesting but have you considered electrolisys by using solar panels

In my opinion, this idea is the best approach to a viable fuel cell (in terms of safety and potentially cost).  It won't be easy, based upon the current level of efficiency of converting solar power into usable energy.  You are correct in stating that NOx and SOx will be eliminated (or greatly reduced) since the fuel cell doesn't operate at temperatures capable of dissociating nitrogen and the feed fuel should have essentially 0 sulfur content.  There are some benefits to fuel cells, but hardly enough currently to justify the multi-billion dollar "hydrogen infrastructure" makeover that some lobbyists are calling for (not on my tax dollars anyway).

P-man,

Sorry, dude.  I didn't know you were 13.  I probably shouldn't impose my negativity upon you.  As a first venture, I would try commercially available fuel cells and bicycle parts and focus on the mechanical design of the bike and power conversion from the fuel cell.  Pay close attention to tires also.  You should swap them out to obtain the proper balance of efficiency (thin) and safety (fat tires).  I can attest that taking a spill on a motorcycle is a lot different than taking a spill on a bicycle (your hands can't move quick enough to block anything or cushion the fall at 50 mph).  After you work out a reasonable bicycle, it might boil down to simple "modular" swaps of the power supply and potentially using stronger gears at higher speeds.

#### P-man

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2005, 12:13:09 PM »
Dude,

That's OK man. I'm at the top of the class. I can take this stuff.

Anyways you were saying how much the hydrogen economy would cost. If the U.S. government can afford to spend trillions of dollars on a stupid war in Iraq, they can afford to spend billions of dollars on a hydrogen infrastructure.

Pi,

Thanks for giving me that info. I'll work on it. I'll see what I'll be able to do for this project, but in the long run I hope to be able to actually design and build (and hopefully patent) some designs.

Pierre.

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#### buckminsterfullerene

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2005, 01:53:21 PM »
Dude,

Anyways you were saying how much the hydrogen economy would cost. If the U.S. government can afford to spend trillions of dollars on a stupid war in Iraq, they can afford to spend billions of dollars on a hydrogen infrastructure.

interesting you should bring that up, in fact Bush signed in 2001 to give $1 billion to fuel cell research, but i still do not see the progress, and the amount was very small compared to the$8.5 billion he gave to start drilling on reservations in Alaska, that and put the fact that the 1 billion is over a period of 5 years, making it a lot less to actually start any significant work around fuel cells, thought it is considerable not enough to beat all the competitors trying to beat us to renewable resources, only 500 million was given for other renewable resources, it just shows where most of the interest to most of the lobbyist is in, and that is to make a quick buck.

the major advances has really been made by private corportations, and they are trying to sell their technology to places like China, and Japan, which are seeking the technology and will be more likely to pay the big bucks for it, there has been a proposal about an 80 watt nano fuel cell for the army placed in phones that would decrease the dependance on battery systemsby being replaced by an affordable and highly available source, i saw a picture of the system next to a pen and its small, there is also the first half-ton fuel cell truck which is being tested by the army for the next six months, the hopefully first commercial truck, looks like the Chevrolet Avalanche and has an 45 or 85 kilowatt system (one of those two).  either way all this designs were brought up by individual companies willing to spend their own money, but i still have not seen anything from the government.. wonder what happened to that money???  all i know is that if we lose the edge to other countries we may grow dependant on that country for yet another source of energy much like we are dependant on the oil industry provided by other countries.  and i do not want to wait 4-8 hours in lines to get only 5 gallons of gas, like it was when wilma passed over Miami, Fl.
currently a student attending high school in South Florida, capital of all the hurricanes that come through the US, and the sunshine state.  My interests falls into electrochemistry going to renewable resources of energy, i like hydrogen fuel cells and solar energy

#### buckminsterfullerene

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2005, 02:00:21 PM »

In my opinion, this idea is the best approach to a viable fuel cell (in terms of safety and potentially cost).  It won't be easy, based upon the current level of efficiency of converting solar power into usable energy.  You are correct in stating that NOx and SOx will be eliminated (or greatly reduced) since the fuel cell doesn't operate at temperatures capable of dissociating nitrogen and the feed fuel should have essentially 0 sulfur content.  There are some benefits to fuel cells, but hardly enough currently to justify the multi-billion dollar "hydrogen infrastructure" makeover that some lobbyists are calling for (not on my tax dollars anyway).

Sorry, dude.  I didn't know you were 13.  I probably shouldn't impose my negativity upon you.  As a first venture, I would try commercially available fuel cells and bicycle parts and focus on the mechanical design of the bike and power conversion from the fuel cell.

one of the problems with getting a commercially built fuel cell and the most likely reason that he is trying to build his own is the cost, a very weak 0.6 watt fuel cell goes for about $200 US, maybe$120 if you are lucky to find one that cheap, and the reason for this is the fact that you are using a precious metal, platinum, as a catalyst.  you could use any other catalyst but many do not handle impurities very well and they will not produce good energy yields per given amount of material.  that is why industries are going nano on fuel cells because you use less materials, but then there is the labor behind a nano that accounts largely to the cost of such a fuel cell, but its still beats the \$3000 per kilowatt compared to a large system that would take probably about 2 square feet by a height of maybe 3 to 4 feet, from a system that i saw.

« Last Edit: December 23, 2005, 02:02:24 PM by 3.3.141592653 »
currently a student attending high school in South Florida, capital of all the hurricanes that come through the US, and the sunshine state.  My interests falls into electrochemistry going to renewable resources of energy, i like hydrogen fuel cells and solar energy

#### billnotgatez

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2005, 06:36:23 PM »
http://www.plugpower.com/technology/overview.cfm

The above link is a company doing fuel cells near me.

I have refrained from commenting on your experimenting with fuel cells up to this point. The reason is that in my opinion, you learn when you experiment. You learn from your failures as well as your successes. Edison did lots of actual experimenting. Tesla on the other hand did a lot of thought experiments.

Let us say you make a fuel cell and it works, but the part where you try to reuse the waste heat is a bust. You will still learn.

You might delve into thermodynamics and find out that your reuse of waste heat would likely not have worked.

Either way you would have learned.

On a separate note there is a discussion about alternative energy sources. I have seen lots of statistics thrown around that support or refute the utility of many of them. I toss my hat into the solar power ring with the knowledge that there are lots of obstacles to economical implementation.

PS - If you have a chance in you leaning future consider taking a Thermodynamics course, but remember that it is one of the hardest courses out there.

#### P-man

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2005, 07:34:39 PM »
Can you explain to me why it wouldn't work?
Pierre.

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#### buckminsterfullerene

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2005, 08:39:43 PM »
well he is not actually saying that it will not work, he is simply saying what if it does not work?  in a case where it does not work you learn that it did not work, and you are able to use what you learned to modify your hypothesis and again test it out and see what will happen.  you are venturing into an area that was generally not tested there is a milliong things that could go wrong but with perseverance and continuing experimentation without giving up.

perhaps if by where you live there is such a thing as dual enrollment or a program that would allow you to take college level classes after school or during the summer or any break for that matter, you could take a course in thermo.  though many states are starting to take out programs like those away because they feel that it gives students "an unfair advatage compared to others", whatever they mean about that, i always thought that it would be good to know more than to know less but apparently they are worried about the great difference in scores from one group to the others that lay dormant.  LOL

about that company, you may try to contact them and see if you are able to get something from them, many companies are hopeful to sponsor such research from students if they see something good about it.... just a thought, expecially if they feel that it will get their name out there, if you are going to participate in some kind of competition or something.
currently a student attending high school in South Florida, capital of all the hurricanes that come through the US, and the sunshine state.  My interests falls into electrochemistry going to renewable resources of energy, i like hydrogen fuel cells and solar energy

#### P-man

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2005, 09:46:26 PM »
OK, thanks, I think I must've misread it. Anyways, do you really think a company would sponsor me? Like I'm not participating in a project but I'll be presenting it in front of 200 people. Is that good enough? I wonder. Anyways in Canada college is different than in the U.S., I think, so in my case I want to go to University. College is like apprentiship and stuff.
Pierre.

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#### Borek

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##### Re:New Fuel Cell System Idea
« Reply #40 on: December 24, 2005, 04:13:08 AM »
Can you explain to me why it wouldn't work?

At this level of details it is impossible to say whether it will work or not. However, with some basic konwoledge about thermodynamics, electrochemistry and physics you may try to analyze whole design to find out if it has a chance of working, or not.

You have proposed Thermal Room. Please try to explain its construction in more details than you did so far, as it looks to me as a chance to show you how the knowledge can be applied to the inventions to test them on paper.

Have you noticed that in the other place where you posted your ideas you were asked almost the same questions about the design as here - whether you will have enough steam for turbine propulsion? That means that for most people with some knowledge about physics your idea looks dubious for the same reasons - reasons that you don't understand yet. That's why I am pushing you to learn, not to design
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