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Investigating Alternative Energy: Hydrogen & Fuel Cells (Developed by SEPUP)

module #P310

This six activity module focuses on hydrogen fuel cell technology as one potential solution to energy concerns. Students first consider some trade-offs of using various fuels, including hydrogen, for powering vehicles then use an electrolyzer to produce hydrogen (and oxygen) gas from water that is then used to generate electricity with a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. They explore the redox reaction with a model and a computer simulation, measure the efficiency of the fuel cell, and use all their gathered knowledge to address whether hydrogen fuel cells are an appropriate source of energy for buses.

This is a "station approach" module that is designed for one small group of students. Although it can be used as a demonstration kit, we recommend purchasing enough equipment sets so that all your students, working in small groups, can experience the lessons first-hand.

Add-a-Group Kit P310EL includes materials for an additional student group but does not include the Teacher's Guide or any other teacher-specific materials.

Want quantity discounts? Contact Lab-Aids for bulk pricing.

$337.45

To complete this six-activity module requires nine to sixteen ~50-minute class periods.

1. Hydrogen for Transportation [1–2 class sessions]

Students are introduced to the modules focus on the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technology as one potential solution to transportation energy concerns. Students analyze tabulated data to investigate the advantages, disadvantages, and trade-offs of several potential options for powering vehicles.

2. Obtaining Hydrogen through Electrolysis [2 class sessions]

Students decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen. They solve problems related to the stoichiometry of the reaction.

3, Observing a Fuel Cell [1 class session]

Students use electricity generated by a fuel cell to run an electrical motor that turns a propeller. They measure the consumption of gases by the fuel cell and the electrical current and voltage produced by the fuel cell.

4. Modeling the Fuel Cell Reaction [1–2 class sessions]

Students are introduced to oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions and half-reactions as a means of creating electric current. They then work with a computer simulation of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell to investigate the chemical reactions that occur within a fuel cell. To deepen their understanding, they also manipulate models of oxygen and hydrogen molecules on a schematic diagram of a PEM fuel cell.

5. Fuel Cell Efficiency [2–4 class sessions]

Students measure the efficiency of a fuel cell. To do this, they measure the amount of gases consumed by the fuel cell and the electrical energy consumed by a propeller fan. Then, they use the delta H of the reaction to compute the efficiency of the fuel cell in converting the chemical energy in hydrogen gas to electricity.

6. Hydrogen for Buses? [2–5 class sessions]

Students analyze information about hydrogen and fuel cells. They use fact sheets and do additional research to identify the advantages of and the challenges facing fuel cell powered buses. In a simulated City Council meeting, students consider the various issues related to hydrogen fuel and fuel cells, and discuss the trade-offs involved in their use.

  • Decisions involving technology require assessment of alternatives and evaluations of benefits, risks, and trade-offs
  • Chemical reactions occur and may release or consume energy
  • Stoichiometric relationships can be used to calculate the amount of reactants, products, and energy consumed or released in a chemical reaction
  • The total energy of the universe is constant. Energy can be transferred but not ( created or) destroyed

Content List in Investigating Alternative Energy: Hydrogen & Fuel Cells (Developed by SEPUP) is as follows:

Quantity Description
1 Teacher’s Guide
1 DVD with videos, computer simulations, and a presentation
1 PEM fuel cell
1 Electrolyzer LAB-AIDS®
1 Electrolyzer and fuel cell base
1 Motor with base and propeller fan
1 Tubing and valves, set
1 DC power cord
2 Fuel cell molecular modeling sets
2 PEM fuel cell diagrams
2 One-hole stoppers
1 Test tube
1 KOH, vial
2 Wooden Splints
1 Squeeze bottle
1 Ear syringe
Number of students
1 small group
Need equipment for more groups?
Check out P310EL and contact Lab-Aids for bulk pricing.
Calendar

To complete this six-activity module requires nine to sixteen ~50-minute class periods.

Title Item # Price Quantity
Investigating Alternative Energy: Hydrogen & Fuel Cells (Station Approach) P310 $337.45
Lab-Aids® Electrolyzer and Fuel Cell Package P310A $209.85
ADD A GROUP for Investigating Alternative Energy: Hydrogen & Fuel Cells P310EL $259.90