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Hydrogen Fuel Cell

  1. Oct 28, 2006 #1
    In my school we are developing and investigating the process of generating electricity by means of an hydrogen fuel cell.
    We have started with an aqueous solution of NaCl and connect it to a 12 volt generator. Then, we waited for 3-4 minutes and disconnected it from the generator and connected to a voltmeter. The voltage was near 1 volt. How could we increase this voltage? We used copper electrodes, but we know the platinum would be a better catalyst, but it is being difficult to buy it here. What are your tips, suggestions, to increase this voltage?

    Also, during the process it appeared a greenish substance which I think it is Cu+ from the oxidation of the cooper. Isn't it?
    If you could post some links for more information about this, it would be also a great help.:approve:

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2006 #2
    Nickel electrodes are the cheapest alternative to platinum and they work like a charm.
     
  4. Oct 28, 2006 #3
    And Nickel-Chromium works better or worse than just nickel?
     
  5. Oct 28, 2006 #4

    GCT

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    Anytime the element chlorine involved in a redox environment, you want to be concerned about the formation of Cl2. The experiment should be performed under a fume hood if possible or in an adequately ventilated environment.

    As far as the technicalities go, research the following webpage

    http://www.howstuffworks.com/fuel-cell.htm
     
  6. Oct 28, 2006 #5

    GCT

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    According to Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell

    Also, there was no fuel cell mentioned which employed chlorine reagents. Chlorine gas is hazardous to your health!!!!
     
  7. Oct 28, 2006 #6
    the greenish substance is probably not Cu+. Cu+ is unstable, and has a tendancy to become Cu2+ which will turn your solution blue-green(mostly blue). This greenish substance, what physical state does it take?
     
  8. Oct 28, 2006 #7
    I would guess that nickel-chromium wire wouldn't work quite as well because most of your catalytic activity only comes from the nickel. When using a 9-volt battery, NaOH solution, and nickel electrodes extracted from a nickel-cadmium battery, I get about 1 volt after disconnection.
     
  9. Oct 29, 2006 #8
    Thanks for all your help. :)
     
  10. Nov 9, 2006 #9
    Your suggestions were very useful. We were able to get 1.7 volts, but instead of NaOH we used KOH. Is there an optimum KOH concentration ?
     
  11. Nov 11, 2006 #10
    Glad it worked. I haven't tried messing around with the concentration of alkali. I assume the higher the concentration the better? I know that in the industrial designs KOH is prefered over NaOH because KOH is more soluble and hence a more concentrated solution can be made. Also, I have read that warm (around 40C I think) solution works better than one at room temperature.
     
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