Published on January 21, 2008
Slide1: Governor’s Institute of Vermont The Vermont Challenge 2007 Solar Micro Fuel Cell Mengjie Ding Abstract Solar Micro Fuel Cell is one of the possible scientific and technical solutions to the climate change and future energy of Vermont. It is based on the fuel cell technology and combined with the technology of nanotechnology, solar thermal energy and cell stack. It consists of an ideally closed system made up of a fuel cell stack, where water is recycled and electricity is generated, and a solar thermal system, where solar energy is absorbed by the solar panel and solar heat is transferred for the thermolysis of the water in the fuel cell stack. Working Principle Solar energy is absorbed by the solar panel and transferred to the fuel cell stack. ↓ Water is decomposed into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). 2H2O→2H2 + O2 ↓ Hydrogen (H2) is delivered to the anode side of the fuel cell and oxygen (O2) is delivered to the cathode side of the fuel cell. ↓ On the anode side of the fuel cell – H2 ↔ 2H+ + 2e- On the cathode side of the fuel cell – 4H+ + O2 + 2e- ↔ 2H2O ↓ The overall electrochemical reaction equation of the fuel cell – 2H2 + O2 ↔ 2H2O ↓ Electricity is generated during the electrochemical reaction as the output of the fuel cell and water is produced as the output of the fuel cell. ↓ The fuel cells are placed in series circuit to produce higher-power and higher-density electricity and water is collected for the thermolysis. ↓ Water is decomposed into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). ↓ Repeat …… Conventional Fuel Cell vs. Solar Micro Fuel Cell Round 1 – Input Hydrogen & Oxygen Solar Energy & Water Output Electricity Electricity Waste Water N/A Round 2 – Input Hydrogen & Oxygen Solar Energy Output Electricity Electricity Waste Water N/A Round 3 – Input Hydrogen & Oxygen Solar Energy Output Electricity Electricity Waste Water N/A Round 4 – …… Solar Energy in Vermont Every year, the energy equivalent of over 5 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy falls on each acre of land in the state of Vermont. Reference Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki Vermont Solar Energy Guide – Vermont Department of Public Service Vermont State E nergy Policies & Energy Legislation - Renewable Energy Vermont The Power of Hydrogen – Paul Kolbusz Related Technology Nanotechnology One nanometer (nm) is one billionth, or 10-9 of a meter. Nanomaterials is the study of how materials behave when their dimensions are reduced to the nanoscale. The application of nanotechnology decreases the volume and increases the portability of the fuel cell. Solar Thermal Energy Solar thermal energy is a technology for harnessing solar power for practical applications from solar heating to electrical power generation. Solar thermal collectors, e.g. solar panels, are devices intended to absorb the sunlight to collect heat and transfer the heat to the fuel cell. Cell Stack Suppose the voltage of a fuel cell is Ui and the number of fuel cells in series circuit in the cell stack is N. The voltage of the cell stack is U = N × Ui The cell stack made up of the fuel cell in series circuits create higher-power and higher-density electricity. The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation. -- Albert Einstein Q: How does a fuel cell work? A: On the anode side, H2 ↔ 2H+ + 2e- E = 0 V (SHE) On the cathode side, 4H+ + O2 + 2e- ↔ 2H2O E = 1.229 V (SHE) The reaction of the electrochemical process is 2H2 + O2 ↔ 2H2O E = 1.229 V (SHE) Fuel Cell Q: What is a fuel cell? A: A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device that converts hydrogen on the anode side and oxygen on the cathode side to produce electricity. The Vermont Challenge Solar – The product emphasizes the use of abundant amount of solar energy. Micro – The product stresses the portability for family and factory purposes. Fuel Cell – The product is designed as a substitute of the current electricity. Environment – More energy and less waste. More Considerations & Further Development 1. Due to the seasonal differences of available solar energy from summer to winter, it is less expensive to install a back-up source of energy for a solar system than to oversize the system to handle the cloudiest month of the year. 2. Due to the high temperature for the thermolysis of the water, certain catalysts should be applied to the thermolysis process.