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Thread: Hydrogen fuel cell/ storage question

  1. #1 Hydrogen fuel cell/ storage question 
    Forum Freshman Fmp2491's Avatar
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    Ok so excuse me for spelling errors if their are because I'm writting from my phone.Hydrogen fuel cells have proven to be a good method of storing "potential energy". My question is let's say u have a small hydrogen fuel cell built and now ur using it to run off of somthing like let's say a solar panel. How can you use it to power things in your house? Obviously I know in order to extract any power/ energy in the hydrogen you need toHave it combust... But how do u safely combust such a strong fuel without dammage to your house? Thanks in advance


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  3. #2  
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    fuel cells PRODUCE power not store it If you want to be technical about it, a fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. A fuel cell converts the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process it produces electricity. its not going to "run" off a solar panel


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    Right I understand that I know that it needs to be hooked up directly to a power source but this is what im asking. My teacher is making us write, a paper about hydrogen and the implementation in the house. Its a brain storming exercise that I am actually interested in. So this is my vision that im trying to work with. I want to hypothetically store the hydrogen like in a fuel cell. Sort of like how the hydrogen cars store their hydrogen in a "Fuel cells". But is it possible to build a solar pannel linked to the hydrogen fuel cell. for example like thisScreen shot 2011-07-29 at 2.41.42 PM.jpg in this video the guy has built a machine that makes hydrogen and runs off of a battery. I want to replace that battery with a solar pannel so as it shells out energy it creates through the suns rays. It can transfer that straight to the hydrogen cell and power the panels inside and use that to create hydrogen. This is extremely complex stuff and in no way am i down playing it. BUT!!WHAT IF, you could take this technology like others have done already by putting it in your vehicle and let their cars run off of partial hydrogen. But instead of that you can store it like in the cars that run off strictly hydrogen. I want to then be able to draw off of it at any given moment, I hypothetically think that if a hydrogen storage tank is possible to store liquid hydrogen in cars then why cant you store hydrogen from you cell in a tank like compressed air? and from there you can slowly let it leak out and use it in a controlled zone... over a controlled period of time.
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    Also I have a question, is it more efficient to store potential energy in a battery or hydrogen? Because if it is uneconomical, then id rather scrap the idea all together if a battery is an easier means of storing energy.. I will just have to brainstorm a new idea for my assignment! so when all is said and done broken down simply should you not store hydrogen to be used later because i understand it is highly dangerous and combustable and probably not a good idea to store in the house. BUT HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING is this possible to do?
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    Again you don't get it the fuel cell IS the power source. Give your brain a rest, none of the storms you propose will work and I'm not wasteing any more time.
    the main problem is it takes more energy to make the H2 than you get out
    Bye , good luck
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    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fmp2491 View Post
    Right I understand that I know that it needs to be hooked up directly to a power source but this is what im asking. My teacher is making us write, a paper about hydrogen and the implementation in the house. Its a brain storming exercise that I am actually interested in. So this is my vision that im trying to work with. I want to hypothetically store the hydrogen like in a fuel cell. Sort of like how the hydrogen cars store their hydrogen in a "Fuel cells". But is it possible to build a solar pannel linked to the hydrogen fuel cell. for example like thisScreen shot 2011-07-29 at 2.41.42 PM.jpg in this video the guy has built a machine that makes hydrogen and runs off of a battery. I want to replace that battery with a solar pannel so as it shells out energy it creates through the suns rays. It can transfer that straight to the hydrogen cell and power the panels inside and use that to create hydrogen. This is extremely complex stuff and in no way am i down playing it. BUT!!WHAT IF, you could take this technology like others have done already by putting it in your vehicle and let their cars run off of partial hydrogen. But instead of that you can store it like in the cars that run off strictly hydrogen. I want to then be able to draw off of it at any given moment, I hypothetically think that if a hydrogen storage tank is possible to store liquid hydrogen in cars then why cant you store hydrogen from you cell in a tank like compressed air? and from there you can slowly let it leak out and use it in a controlled zone... over a controlled period of time.
    Well, to do as I believe you mean, you would take the electricity form solar cells, and then separate the hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis. Now you then need to capture this hydrogen gas for use. The hydrogen gas is the energy storage. Storing it requires a compressor and a high pressure tank, and can be dangerous. The fuel cell creates energy, by recombining the oxygen in the air with the hydrogen. For use in a house, you would also need an inverter. This is all well and good in theory. However, there are several problems involved. The life of the fuel cell membrane for one. Maybe there is a good one developed since I looked into it, but there has no to my knowledge, none that is affordable and doesn't degrade with the impurities to be expected. Hydrogen doesn't compress easily or safely, outside of high costs.

    Outside of this basic idea.... which is sound... it seems to me the best research you can do is to find out the efficiency of conversion to gas, and back to energy, and then the costs of containing the hydrogen storage. As an exercise, I think the costs and upkeep of the fuel cell itself is relevant also, but maybe your teacher doesn't.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Wild Cobra; August 3rd, 2011 at 02:00 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra View Post
    Well, to do as I believe you mean, you would take the electricity form solar cells, and then separate the hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis. Now you then need to capture this hydrogen gas for use. The hydrogen gas is the energy storage. Storing it requires a compressor and a high pressure tank, and can be dangerous. The fuel cell creates energy, by recombining the oxygen in the air with the hydrogen. For use in a house, you would also need an inverter. This is all well and good in theory. However, there are several problems involved. The life of the fuel cell membrane for one. Maybe there is a good one developed since I looked into it, but there has no to my knowledge, none that is affordable and doesn't degrade with the impurities to be expected. Hydrogen doesn't compress easily or safely, outside of high costs.

    Outside of this basic idea.... which is sound... it seems to me the best research you can do is to find out the efficiency of conversion to gas, and back to energy, and then the costs of containing the hydrogen storage. As an exercise, I think the costs and upkeep of the fuel cell itself is relevant also, but maybe your teacher doesn't.

    Good luck.

    Yea its only a theory for now but i was wondering if that would even be possible. I understand that hydrogen at the moment is kind of obsolete in terms of its not practical for the price. But i do appreciate the response it was just enough to satisfy my curiosity!
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    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fmp2491 View Post
    Yea its only a theory for now but i was wondering if that would even be possible. I understand that hydrogen at the moment is kind of obsolete in terms of its not practical for the price. But i do appreciate the response it was just enough to satisfy my curiosity!
    Well, as fossil fuels diminish and our energy needs increase, I think hydrogen will likely be viable some day. There are ways of chemically making hydrogen, but then you have byproducts to deal with. I would personally like to see a high power working methane fuel cell. That would be something we could implement right now.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra View Post
    Well, as fossil fuels diminish and our energy needs increase, I think hydrogen will likely be viable some day. There are ways of chemically making hydrogen, but then you have byproducts to deal with. I would personally like to see a high power working methane fuel cell. That would be something we could implement right now.
    I mean yea that would be awesome! But as for right now I dont think we have the means to make that! Although I havent done enough research to say. But as far as hydrogen goes its still pretty promising as long as we can further the efficiency all around. I mean obviously its a work in progress but I see some good things with hydrogen fuel in the future!
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