This week on Cool Stuff – Hydrogen Fuel Cells – Green tech

We took a bit of a departure from some of the usual technology in Future Tech this week to talk about how we power technology in the future. The current Cool Stuff Collective show with this is on ITV player this week (as are some fo the previous shows like 3d printing 🙂 ). The core of this was discussing Hydrogen Fuel Cells. In particularly PEM (Proton Exchange Membranes).
We had this “toy” hydrogen powered car. It is not really a toy but a science experiment.
Generating hydrogen power a car
It has two little bell jars on the back. The fuel cell is actually a reversible one.
This means it can be used to break water passed into it down (by passing electricity across it) into oxygen and hydrogen. This then acts as the fuel source when you rever the process and power the electric motor of the car by passing Oxygen and Hydrogen into the fuel cell where it recombines into water and generates electricity.
As I pointed out in the show if you use renewable clean electricity to generate the hydrogen this seems to be a very efficient and clean fuel system.
The car worked well, the discussion of the future and also the problems with the volumes of hydrogen needed etc all worked I think.
I know that green energy is an emotive subject, but it is the next generation that will ultimately decide (or be forced too). It comes down to whether it is easier to store hydrogen to make electricity, or easier to just store electricity in a battery. That electricity may of course have been generated from hydrogen/oxygen combination, or solar, or waves etc.
We had some great questions, one was what will Hydrogen cars look like. The answer is of course they can look like any car today, as with the Honda FCX Clarity or they could be re-engineered to fit the dynamics of the power source.
What I liked about the fuel cell was we just had one there, I generated the fuel with it and then powered the little car with it. It worked. Nothing theoretical about that.

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