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Homesteader

Hydrogen fuel cell

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Homesteader
Hi guys, some of you have been asking me questions about my fuel cell's progress through PM's, so here is a post you asked for!!dOd this is me assembling my anode/cathode array for the inside of the fuel cell. they are roughly 4"*7" in size and are hooked up alternating from - to +. [IMG]http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb260/glennske/fuelcell1-1.jpg[/IMG] this is the completed array, held together with plastic toilet seat bolts to prevent creating a short between the plates [IMG]http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb260/glennske/fuelcell4.jpg[/IMG] this is the inlet into the top of the air-cleaner cover, the suction draws the hydrogen from the bubbler into the motor [IMG]http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb260/glennske/fuellcell3.jpg[/IMG] and this is the whole set-up attached AND creating hydrogen on the old girl before the wires started burning.}:) it did turn over and pop but not much else. [IMG]http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb260/glennske/fuelcell2.jpg[/IMG] i have also got a video of it working... that i will put on youtube tomorrow. i cant really say much about it now because we are still experimenting, but if you have any questions about it i will try to answer them. Aaron

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timflury
Nice job Aaron. Keep up the good work and keep us informed. I'd like to try something like this for my Serf, but, it looks like the chemical reaction requires a battery and a charging system which my tractor lacks. Are you getting graded for this??? I really think a small engine shop teacher or even a science teacher should know what you are doing.

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Homesteader
yes, science fair. both my science teacher and shop teacher know about the project. tim. as long as you have a battery hooked up to the tractor you can run the fuel cell via switch. we a cutting down the metal plates because the monolithic draw has blown 3-4 30A fusesXX(

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B10Dave
dOddOddOd Aaron. Way to go. This project is absolutly fascinating.I never would have thought someone could build a small fuel cell to create the hydrogen and run a garden tractor. Keep up the good work and I hope you get a top prize at your science fair.sm01

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bluecap24
Aaron, Looks like you are doing a great job. I like the attention to detail on your parts. Please be careful with the hydrogen though because it can be very dangerous. My father in law was experimenting with it and it malfunctioned and continued generating while his truck was off and when he started it there was enough buildup of the brown gas that it exploded the intake and cause about $1,000 damage to the truck. I imagine it would really send parts a flying on a small engine. If I remember correctly he had to balance out his solution in the generator to keep his from blowing fuses also. Good Luck and keep us updated! Jim

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Homesteader
that is what we have been worrying about. so to prevent an explosion we remove the cell from the tractor and empty it after every test. sammiefish, we have not been able to run very long tests due to the whole wires overloading and burning problem. once we fix that problem i suppose it will stay running as long as the battery is good and the tractor is running. it mostly depends on thee amount of baking soda we mix in the distilled water ( lots= long gas making period, some or little= shorter gas making period.)

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sammiefish
you mention that you are thinking of making the plates smaller... (too much current flow blowing fuses?) would removing one (or one pair) of the plates work in the same manner? I just ask as it may be easier than cutting every plate to a smaller dimension. Am I understanding this correctly? Way cool for sure... BTW, where is the H+ actually coming from .... the sodium bicarb? Na+ / HCO3- and what is the waste product?

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Homesteader
i suppose it would make it a lot easier. thanks for the idea:D the electrical current in the sodium enriched water reacts to make the H+ or "Brown's Gas"

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Michiganmobileman
Very interesting indeed. Its neat to see a bright young mind at work toward good thingsdOd. Are the wires soldered to the plates or just twisted through? Couldnt tell from the pics. Keep us posted on your progress. Greg

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Michiganmobileman
Aaron, the reason I had asked this was due to your high amp draw issue; as a loose connection will draw more amps than a tight one. Would you have room to use a ring terminal soldered to the end of the wires and a tiny nut and bolt to fasten the ring terminal to the plate? This may give you a tighter connection and a lower amp draw, just a thought. Keep up the good work and like I said above keep us posted on your progress. Greg

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Cvans
Aaron, You can use soft silver solder to attach the wires to the plates. Just make sure everything is clean so you get a good solder joint. Chris

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Homesteader
I hope so. sorry for not posting the video... will try to sometime today. was working on it already this morning and it decided it wouldn't work. dont know why, but it was creating H+ but we could not get it through the lines into the bubbler bottle. we'd get a puff initialy but thats it. tried relieving pressure on the lines and that did not help much. i do believe i messed up the formula of the baking soda to distilled water ratio because when it was working really good the water turned a copper color but today it stayed at a clear yellow. got to find a good ratio.}:)

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mdmre
The solution you are using with the plates is distilled water and baking soda. The idea of this solution is to make the water a better conductor of electricity and therefore help with releasing the hydrogen. If all of this is correct, I have a better solution you should use. I have removed rust from rusty metal using electrolysis. I found a better solution that greatly increases waters ability to conduct electricity. Water is really a poor conductor of electricity. This made the electrolysis work a lot faster and better. The solution I use is a mix of water and potash or potassium. This is a fertilizer used by farmers to help plant growth, it is a naturally occurring mineral and is safe to dispose of on the ground. Potash mixed with water greatly increases waters ability to conduct electricity, much more so than using baking soda. What you are doing with a fuel cell is basically the same as electrolysis. I use it to remove rust and do not capture the hydrogen. You capture the hydrogen and do not remove any rust. If you would like to read more about potash, see here [url]http://www.ppi-ppic.org/ppiweb/bcrops.nsf/$webindex/5D2913BE57631D9985256D1A0062CF40/$file/03-2p21.pdf[/url] I think you will find you will create a much more efficient fuel cell by using potash instead of baking soda. Important Note: Do not use stainless steel parts anywhere in this setup, whether you use baking soda or potash as your added chemical. If you use stainless steel, you will create a deadly chemical called hexavalent chromium or chromium 6. This was the same chemical in the movie Erin Brockovich. In the process of removing rust, my plates would degrade. I have switched to using graphite instead. Graphite is a completely inert, naturally occurring material and a great conductor of electricity, much better than metal. There are no by products given off by the graphite either. As for the ratio of water to potash, I started out with the same ratio as I was using with baking soda. I ended up using about 3 times the amount I was using with baking soda, this just seemed to speed up the process for me. I suppose you would have to experiment to see what works best for the fuel cell. Does the distance between plates make a difference in the amount of hydrogen produced or the rate at which it is produced? In my experience with electrolysis to remove rust, I found that 12v with 10 amps would remove the rust at a moderate rate, but 12v at 50 amps would work much faster. Perhaps this will give you something to think about. I can't wait to see the video.

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