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Division 9 (Mechatronics Eng.

Wednesday Sep. 24 , 10:30

Fuel Cell Activity 2

Week 3 & week 4
The demand for clean and sustainable energy has never been greater as
environmental regulations get tighter and crude oil reserve is depleting over
the century. Fuel cell technology has great potential to power everyday
devices such as car through converting chemical energy to electricity.
Although many combinations of electrochemical processes are possible such
as methanol as fuel and chlorine serve as oxidants, most fuel cell in use
today consumes hydrogen and oxygen gases as the chemicals. The standard
potential energy generated from the reaction is

H2 2H+ + 2e2H + 2e + 1/2 O2 H2O

H2 + 1/2 O2 H2O

All fuel cells have similar basic configuration: two electrodes (anode and
cathode) and an electrolyte (e.g. Nafion as polymer electrolyte membrane,
PEM). Electron flows from anode to cathode through conductive wire to
power the fuel cell car while H + diffuse across the polymer electrolyte
membrane to react with oxygen to form H 2O. The reaction is spontaneous
and the cell configuration is considered as galvanic or voltaic cell.
In this fuel cell activity, you are going to produce hydrogen (fuel) and oxygen
(oxidant) from electrolysis of water, a reverse reaction to split hydrogen and
oxygen with input of energy (battery). You are going to determine the
maximum hydrogel fuel that can be carried and used to power the fuel cell
car under the existing car setup. Your deliverables in todays activity are:
1. Assemble the fuel cell car following the lab manual instructions
2. Discuss with your group members on why distilled/ultra-pure water is
used for the fuel cell reaction. Can tap water be used? If so, what is the
possible consequence?
3. Study the effect of hydration on the fuel cell PEM. Is there gases
production when PEM is dry? Now add distilled/ultra-pure water, and
observe the reaction. Record your observations.
4. Apply the design concepts learned in MTE 100 and develop approaches
in determining the amount of H 2 and O2 produced in each of the gasstorage cylinders if you run the electrolysis process until the hydrogen
gas cylinder (H2) is filled (the battery is shut off as soon as H2 gas starts
to bubble). Available measurement devices provided are: graduated
cylinder and ruler.

Division 9 (Mechatronics Eng. stream)

Wednesday Sep. 24 , 10:30
5. Perform measurement and recorder all necessary data required to
complete Report 2. All raw data used in the report must be included in
the appendix.

Learning objectives

CHE 102: Familiarize and practice the concepts of mole as

measurement of quantity, limiting reactants, reaction stoichiometry,
atmospheric pressure, open-end manometer, height as pressure
measurement, and ideal gas law;

MTE 100: Define objectives and constraints. Practice engineering

design processes (ie. need assessment, problem definition/formulation,
abstraction and synthesis, analysis, and implementation) and problem
solving approaches (ie. Analysis, computation, problem formulation,
and execution).

Report 2: Due Monday October 6 at 8:20 am

Person 2 of the fuel cell activity group is the leader for Report 2 and is
responsible to submit one copy of the report to online dropbox @ MTE 100
course repository before due date. The report should be 3 pages, plus
appendix for raw data collected, detail calculation, and schematics for fuel
cell car design if applicable. Same formatting requirements as Report 1 and
no point-form or one word answers. If you include information from outside
sources such as websites, books, journal.., be sure to cite and reference the
information properly.
Part 1: Preliminary design and car maintenance - Page 1
Discuss some of the key maintenance activities that your group will do to
ensure that the fuel cell is kept in good working order:
a) your group's design goals including objectives and constraints
b) Why is it important to hydrate the fuel cell PEM?
c) Why is distilled water used for the fuel cell and not tap water?
Part 2: Fuel Cell-specific question-Page 2
a) What volume of gas can be stored in each of the gas-storage cylinders?

Division 9 (Mechatronics Eng. stream)

Wednesday Sep. 24 , 10:30
b) How much gas (in moles) can be stored in each of the gas-storage
cylinders if the battery is shut off as soon as H2 gas starts to bubble?
c) What is the maximum amount of fuel available for powering the fuel
cell car?
d) Are there any assumptions made for the calculations (ie. ideal gas law,
other gas molecules also exist in the gas cylinder?)
Part 3 : Appendix-Page 3
a) Cite at least 3 references, 2 must be peer-reviewed and follow up the
referencing style in IEEE
b) Raw data collected for calculation.
c) Sample calculation