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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. Students then uses these gases to generate electricity with a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell and observe the consumption of gases by the fuel cell and the motion of an electric propeller attached to it.

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

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Students also measure the voltage and the current produced by the fuel cell and are introduced to oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions and half-reactions as a means of creating electric current. To further their understanding of the chemistry involved, they use both a computer simulation and a manipulative model of a PEM fuel cell. To end the unit, students use the G of the reaction to compute the efficiency of the fuel cell in converting the energy in H2 to electricity then identify the advantages of and the challenges facing fuel cell powered vehicles.

  • 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?
Use drop down menu for discounts on multiple kit purchases

To complete this six-activity module requires eight to twelve ~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