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Thread: Fuel Cell System.

  1. #1 Fuel Cell System. 
    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    Here are the descriptions to two of my designs. Hope to hear some feedback.

    EST1: Electrolysis, Stirling Engine, and Thermal Room System

    The Thermal Room:
    This is an invention made by myself. It is a room which traps the heat from the fuel cell to use it in various ways. It is made of a high-temperature-resistant insulator that will not melt at the temperatures it is insulating.

    The Stirling Engine:
    In this case the thermal room is heating part of Stirling engine. This Stirling engine turns electromagnets to make electricity, which is used in part to power electrolysis (or it can be used fully for that purpose).

    The Electrolysis:
    The electrolysis in this system is the same as in the ET1 system, although a catalyst would be used here.

    Conclusion:
    Here I make use of the heat that is just usually wasted in PEM fuel cells to make even more electricity. The success of this system, however, would depend on the catalyst to speed up the electrolysis.

    ET1: Turbine and Electrolysis System

    The Turbine:
    I have used the water vapour exhaust of a PEM fuel cell to run a turbine to make electricity. After the water vapour has passed through the turbine it goes to electrolysis system. The electricity produced is used with the electricity already made by the fuel cell to power the engine of the car.

    The Electrolysis:
    Here I use part of the electricity from the turbine to run the electrolysis of the water vapour; creating more hydrogen to get used up by the fuel cell.

    Conclusion:
    This is basically a self-generating system where the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle all fit nicely together (hopefully). The point of this system is to really make the most electricity possible while being practical.


    Pierre

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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman Laboratory Mike's Avatar
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    I've been watching this technology for while... and here are my first questions: How much vapor are you producing, and at what temperature? Is the steam intended to be "wet" or superheated? These make a difference in terms of power produced, corrosion, and in safety (hot steam is a dangerous thing). Speaking of which, can you tell me more about this "thermal room?" I'd be interested in seeing how it works.

    Ultimately, I'll say this:

    1) use the steam generated in your EST1 system to power the turbine, and use the turbine's electricity to add extra power to the car. This would be far easier and more efficient than trying to condense, collect, and recycle the steam for electrolysis (as the three aforementioned steps all require energy)

    2) If at all possible, see if you can try a catalyzed-hydrocarbon fuel cell instead of a hydrogen one. The reason is because oil, ethanol, and biodiesel are much cheaper and more available than hydrogen. Just a thought.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    I've got a diagram that shows the thermal room (I can e-mail it to you). Well the fuel cell produces 93 degrees Celcius so I need an accumulation of heat, I don't know how that would work though.
    Pierre

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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman Laboratory Mike's Avatar
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    Okay, send it to my Yahoo account: angelssk7@yahoo.com

    You're right about the heat accumulation, since steam will not be very good at 93C and atmospheric pressure, so perhaps this thermal room will be able to hold enough heat to superheat the outgoing water. Or maybe not. I'll have to look at a heat-transfer energy balance for you. Now, of course, there is also the possibility that you can take only the vapor fraction of outgoing water and pressurize it for use in the turbine, but the question then is going to be how you intend to increase pressure without wasting all of the turbine power. A good nozzle perhaps... I'll have to go back and look at my books.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree The P-manator's Avatar
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    I am working on the EST1 system more because the heat problem is not a problem there. The Stirling engine only uses heat difference so the stem doesn't have to be that hot.
    Pierre

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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman Laboratory Mike's Avatar
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    I haven't learned about the Sterling engine fully yet, but if it performs as you say, then it would probably work better than the turbne for extracting extra energy. Still, what is the temperature that heat will be discarded to? Temperature differences play a large role in overall efficiency... though I guess you can experiment with it to determine how much extra energy you can get.
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  8. #7  
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    The PEM fuel cell produces heat at 93 degrees Celcius.
    Pierre

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  9. #8  
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    This is a very intersting reading. I am interested in fuel cells as well.. but mostly for use at computers ... lets say fules cells could annihilate those pending problem of electricity:Sometimes there is none and compters dunn work (sorry english not my mothers lang..). with constantly awaiable power we would not have such problems, while also securing the healthier enviroment around us.
    Want to have unlimited power? Dont stop learning and u'll have it.

    http://science.mojforum.si
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  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman Laboratory Mike's Avatar
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    Katalus, it's good to see that you are interested in this kind of material.

    The one thing I disagree on is that I do not think that hydrogen is going to become the great new fuel of the future (not in our lifetime, at least), in part because it is currently too costly in terms of energy to get it (i.e. electrolysis of water). I might be prvoen wrong though, so I like to keep watch on how this technology is developing. If you're wondering, I tend to be more interested in biomass fuels and hydrocarbon fuel cells, since the latter would take an existing fuel source and greatly extend the lifespan of it via greater efficiency. And for computers, look at this article here:

    http://www.ccnmag.com/news.php?id=3917

    I've also heard of a camera chip out for which a digital camera would now be able to run for years on a single battery instead of days or weeks. Once such high-efficiency chips hit PCs, I am sure that we will have far less power consumption as a result, and thereby delay the oil crisis until a new resource is discovered.

    For P-manator, what I meant in the last post by heat being rejected is what the "cold source" temperature will be for the Stirling engine. For example, a normal car engine rejects excess heat into the radiator, which is about 40-50 C, sometimes hotter. For heat-difference engines, the ratio of the temperatures plays a significant role. For example, the efficiency of a perfect Carnot engine (basic heat difference engine) is calculated as n=1-(T(cold)/T(hot)) with the "hot" temperature being the heat source (in your case 366K or 93C), and cold being, at the lowest, the temperature of the outside air (about 298 K, making this system 18% efficient). I don't know about the math for a Sterling engine, but if it is also based on heat-difference, then it might not be the most efficient at the temperature you are using. But then again, I don't fully know.

    Could you explain how a Sterling engine works? I know it's different from the other engines I know about, so that might help me understand how the device works in the sense of efficiency.
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