How to Build A Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Build A Hydrogen Fuel Cell with basic materials to gain experience.

Below is a description on how to build a hydrogen fuel cell which could be built in an evening. There are more advanced plans that you can build, but this will get you started in learning how it is done with some theory and experience.

To build a hydrogen fuel cell we need the following:

  • One foot of platinum coated nickel wire, or pure platinum wire. 
  • A popsicle stick or similar small piece of wood or plastic.
  • Small Wire
  • Baking Soda (You can use salt if you don't have baking soda)
  • Distilled Water (You can use tap water if this isn't available)
  • A 9 volt battery clip.
  • A 9 volt battery.
  • Some transparent sticky tape.
  • A glass of water.
  • A volt meter.

Before you build a hydrogen fuel cell obtain platinum coated wire which costs around $16. Make the wire into a coil by wrapping this around the test lead of your voltmeter. You will want to make two coils. One coil will become the anode and the other will be the cathode.

To continue to build a hydrogen fuel cell take some wire and wrap around one of the coiled platinum wires and around one of the 9 volt battery clip wires. Take some more wire and wrap around the other platinum coiled wire and the other 9 volt battery clip wire.

Get a glass and fill with distilled water and baking soda.

Tape the coils onto the popsicle stick with the both of the coils inserted into the water. Tape the popsicle stick to the glass on both sides.

Tape the volt meter leads to the two small wires hanging outside of the glass. The twisted wire connections must stay out of the water, so only the platinum coated electrodes are in the water. Turn your voltmeter on and set to DC volts. The volt meter should show just zero (0) volts.

Touch the 9 Volt battery to the batter clip. You should see some bubbles coming off the red wire. Once you see some bubbles, look at the voltmeter and see that it says around 9 Volts.

Now, disconnect the battery from the battery clip. You should see about 2 volts on the volt meter. The volt meter will decrease in number of volts.

Why is there still voltage showing on the volt meter?

The platinum acts as a catalyst which makes it easier for the hydrogen and oxygen to recombine.

As the hydrogen and oxygen recombine into water, electricity is produced.

That is how you build a hydrogen fuel cell.

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