University Curriculum Project

H2E3 Fuel Cell / Electrolyzer Kit

H2E3 Fuel Cell / Electrolyzer Kit (Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown)

Since our last update, we have completed fabrication of two dozen benchtop fuel cell/electrolyzer kits and one of two fuel cell test stations to be built as part of the Hydrogen Energy in Engineering Education (H2E3) project (see pictures, below). The purpose of the DOE-funded H2E3 project is to bring hands-on hydrogen and fuel cell education into classrooms and labs across the University of California and California State University systems. University of California, Berkeley and several fuel cell companies are partnering with SERC on the project.

During this fall semester, we will provide the new lab hardware along with complimentary lesson plans and slide shows to instructors in introductory engineering, thermodynamics, and energy and society courses at Humboldt State University and Berkeley. The fuel cell/ electrolyzer kits allow students to generate hydrogen from water and grid or solar electricity, store the gas, and operate a fuel cell to power mechanical loads. Efficiency of every energy conversion step can be measured using provided instrumentation.

The test stations allow automated testing of fuel cell stacks up to 500W output. The stations incorporate many of the features found in SERC’s larger, more expensive test stations, yet are portable enough to be moved from lab to lab or even transported between campuses over the course of the H2E3 project. Each test station includes an 8-cell, 300cm2 fuel cell stack built in-house by SERC.

In addition to developing all of these project materials, we also traveled to Washington, DC in May to give a well-received presentation on the H2E3 project at the DOE’s annual hydrogen program merit review and evaluation meeting and delivered our first annual project report to DOE.