Introduction: How to Make a Simple Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Picture of How to Make a Simple Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Hi Guys :)

Please Rate this Instructable and follow me for more cool step by step guides.

Made By Manish Kumar

Today, I will be teaching you how to make a Hydrogen Fuel Cell. A Hydrogen Fuel Cell generates electrical power quietly and efficiently, without pollution. Unlike power sources that use fossil fuels, the by-products from an operating hydrogen fuel cell is only heat and water.

A single fuel cell consists of an electrolyte sandwiched between two electrodes, an anode and a cathode. Bipolar plates on either side of the cell help distribute gases and serve as current collectors.

In this case, Water is first broken down into its components Hydrogen and Oxygen using electrolysis. When The Power supply is switched off, these two recombine which actually creates Electrical Energy. :)

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Step 2: Platinum Wire

Picture of Platinum Wire

Take approximately 12 inches of the platinum wire and cut it into two equal pieces of 6 inches each. Take the end of each wire and twist it over the nail, so that it looks like a spring. However, leave approximately 1 inch free on the end. These will act as your electrodes. 

Step 3: Sticking

Picture of Sticking

Now use the tape to stick the free 1 inch of the platinum wire on the Popsicle stick. Leave some wire free on the end. Do this for both the electrodes. 

Step 4: Connecting Leads

Picture of Connecting Leads

My connecting leads were made of wire, with crocodile clips on the end, so that they can be connected to almost anything and everything. Attach the crocodile clips to the free end electrodes. 

Step 5: Popsicle Stick

Picture of Popsicle Stick

Place the Popsicle Stick with the Electrodes connected on top of the beaker of water. Make sure the electrodes are immersed in the water and that they aren't touching each other. 

Step 6: Multimeter

Picture of Multimeter

First connect the other end of the connecting leads to the Multimeter, and it should read 0.001 or 0.000 Volts. Both are fine. Disconnect the Connecting leads from the Multimeter next. 

Step 7: 9-Volt Battery

Picture of 9-Volt Battery

Next, connect the leads to the 9-volt battery. Keep it on for a second, (You will observe that bubbles will be forming on one of the electrodes. And then immediately disconnect the leads from the 9-Volt Battery and connect the leads back to the multimeter. The Multimeter will now show some voltage such as 0.43 volts or  0.85 volts depending on the amount of time you kept the battery pack connected. You can actually use this voltage to power small objects such as a LED with the amount I used. On a Large Scale, it can power a Car or large electrical appliances. 

Step 8: Your Done

Picture of Your Done

Congratulations, your hydrogen fuel Cell is now ready, and you can use it to power small items. Note : If the power supply is kept on for a long time, you are able to power something for a longer amount of time. 


Asylum-ET (author)2017-07-11

This is NOT a hydrogen fuel cell! This is just electrolysis of water to separate hydrogen and oxygen from H20. A hydrogen fuel cell consumes hydrogen and converts it to electricity.

rasel88 (author)2016-03-29

Your project is but it is very small here i make new projects it is run my car and motorbike easyly. Here i use stainless steel metal.

gijoe3843325 (author)rasel882017-03-15

I am very interested in learning this, as i had seen where a gentleman ran small pump using water as fuel. Do you have any specific guides/instructions/material list/tutorials?

RicardoP70 (author)rasel882016-04-05

What steps did you follow?

wacival (author)2016-12-21

This is not a hydrogen fuel cell. It is a very rudimentary HHO generator. Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity with no moving parts. coupled with an electric motor they power a new breed of German U-boats which are the quietest ever built. a true hole in the water. Paired with the supersonic torpedo they also developed, they are the deadliest subs ever. they can destroy a target without ever being heard.

MudassirFarooq (author)2016-12-01

Does not this Instructable fall under plagiarism?

Tinker-Dan (author)2016-01-14

Is platinum wire required? Your saying ill need 12 inches but that's very expensive. I'm just wondering if any wire will do in replacement even if efficiency is affected.

rockyit98 (author)Tinker-Dan2016-03-21

use carbon anode and cathode (you can get it from a zinc carbon battery)

QuinnS8 (author)Tinker-Dan2016-01-24

You can separate the water with copper wire also

ImranA40 (author)2016-03-01

i think the thing you made is acting like a recharge battery by holding some charge when you connect battery source and giving you that energy. hydrogen is lighter than air and it will not remain in that beaker for even a short time. and you cannot get any detectable voltage from such a bad design. a fuel cell efficiency depends highly upon its design

maryam123456 made it! (author)2015-08-28

i want that you can give me the all instructions and tutorial . plzzzzzzzz

JohnB110 (author)2015-07-13

I'm looking into bottling the hydrogen, how would I do that?

HeathH (author)JohnB1102015-07-20

You could use a modified emergency air pump in line with a spent, purged and vacuumed propane cylinder either via male shrade valve or spare cylinder fitting, like off a camping stove. Use an inline pressure gauge to monitor pressure, and use the pump to evacuate the hydrogen generating cell into the cylinder. Do this only at your own risk and assumed responsibility for any safety measures.

JohnB110 (author)HeathH2015-07-20

Haha thanks HeathH

HeathH (author)2015-07-20

Don't forget hydrogen fuel systems are not lossless, meaning, you should see an 80% return on well built efficient setups. Eg. 100wh in and 60-80wh return. That being said, I would say if you are looking to source the metals paired with nickel, try using spark plugs, even many factory plugs, or ngk/dense aftermarket. Worn out ones in need of replacement might work just as well and would be tossed in the trash otherwise. For the past couple decades more and more plugs have been made from platinum, titanium, gold palladium and iridium etc, and all I've seen have a nickel/chrome plated ground electrode.

JohnB110 (author)HeathH2015-07-20

Oh what a legend.. spark plugs awesome idea.. through the garage I go!

mondane (author)2015-03-21

hi,is that liquied only water ??

sshaikh15 (author)2014-03-15

How will it generate electriciy ???

JediDude6205 (author)sshaikh152015-02-13

when hydrogen seperates from water, it requires energy to do so. The same applies with bonding with oxegyn back into water. Only this is harvesting leftover energy that is produced

FelipeM5 (author)2014-12-12

do the electrodes have to be platinum coated nickel wire or can it be a different wire?

JorgeM5 (author)2014-11-07

If I wanted to make a stronger model that does produce 0.001 volts and I want it to produce 6 volts how would I do that and what parts would I need to change?

qscftr (author)2014-11-04

mother fing nerd

jonc1234 (author)2014-08-04

Here is the technology i have been interested in:

This is not difficult to reproduce and the hydrogen output is significantly greater only this is hydrogen gas not electrolytes stored in water... the bubbles on those electrodes store the hydrogen to my knowledge if you produce enough through boilig or electrolysis the gas escapes and can be trapped in the container...

jonc1234 (author)2014-08-04

How many watt hours of electricity does it store and how long does it take to charge? Watt=ampsxvolt... its probably a function of the amount of the amount of hydrogen... if this works, you are essentially making a battery with electrolytic hydrogen solution, and anode and cathode (negative and positive terminals).

nchacko (author)2013-09-08

can we use some other wire instead of platinum ?

hpatel8 (author)2013-04-30

isnt it called a capacitor if you are putting electricity into it to get electricity out of it?

Nyxius (author)2012-12-20

No offense dude, but this isn't a fuel cell. This is an open air electrolysis cell. A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to make water and electricity.

kvelmurugan (author)2012-10-01

good and easy project thank you

Lol Thank you :) Please rate this Instructable and follow me if you liked it..

dhavaladj (author)2012-07-08

can we use any alternative for platinum wire???? its hard to find one of those in

The electrodes must be in the platinum group of elements. This is because of their catalytic properties (as well as non reactivity for the initial electrolysis, however stainless steel, graphite, etc will work for electrolysis alone). So that means you can use ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum.

Disregard my previous comment. Only the anode needs to be platinum group (hydrogen side). The cathode side usually uses nickel for a catalyst (oxygen side). I'm attaching a drawing of a crude fuel cell.

You can use a Platinum coated Nickel wire. I got 24 inches of my wire for around 2 US Dollars

Where did you get that wire from? I would LOVE to buy some. Doing alot of electrochemistry recently and finding a good anode for cheap is next to impossible. $2 for 2ft of Pt coated wire is a hell of a deal.

Hi. :) The thing is, that I live in Pakistan and not in the States. So I really don't know the prices of all the electronic equipment over there. However, if you want, we can work out a deal and I'll FedEx it to you with any other things you would love to get from here. :) Follow me if you liked this article :)

Please Follow me if you liked this article. :)

mhj555 (author)2012-03-15

Very cool experiment. I'd recommend keeping the top sealed so the H and O gases don't escape before they recombine.

Also, it'd be good to know the power efficiency of this setup.
Measure the voltage and current required to break down the water into H and O, then measure the voltage and current out of it and calculate the efficiency (100* PowerOut/PowerIn)

LiquidLightning (author)mhj5552012-07-22

Sounds pretty dangerous. H2, O2, Cl, all under pressure in container which can shatter and contains NaOH solution.

howtowithmanish (author)mhj5552012-03-16

The efficiency was approximately 4 % only. :P Please follow me if you liked this Instructable.

Hey me and my friend is in 8th grade and for a prodject we need to know what the proccess of this experiment is called?!

madonna2012 (author)2012-03-28

What is the process called for this????? i need to know for my GTT CLASS!!
Please comment ASAP!! :)

knexpert1700 (author)madonna20122012-04-20

this is called electrolysis.whats happening is the electricity is running through the water and it is simply breaking the water into hydrogen and oxygen.this is why h2o is called h2o,2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.this method is used to run engines and cars or to create electricity.hydrogen is the most common gas in the universe.this gas is an extremely flammable gas.more flammable and rapid than gasoline and butane.-(butane is a chemical found in lighters).it can actually increase fuel mileage in a car by a lot.some people find over 50% better mileage on there cars with some hydrogen kits,and it produces much less polution in the air than gasoline.hydrogen has been studied for about a hundred years too and has been looked as a cleaner and better fuel for cars.

so,over all,hydrogen is a great gas that is much better that gasoline and could save you much money if you are willing to make the change.

Hi. It's called electrolysis. Follow me please and rate this article too :)

rimar2000 (author)2011-10-07

Where did you get your platinum wire?

From a Chemical Store in my city. I actually had my school's lab assistant for chemistry to get it for me.

jamngary (author)howtowithmanish2012-03-06

Is there somewhere online i can get the wire?

howtowithmanish (author)jamngary2012-03-07

Follow me if you liked this article please :)

killbox (author)2011-10-07

Where did you get your platinum wire?

howtowithmanish (author)killbox2011-11-07

From a Chemicals Store in my city. I actually had my school's lab assistant for chemistry to get it for me.

GOGOKINK (author)2011-11-07

so nice

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an A-Levels Student at Karachi Grammar School, Pakistan. My passion is physics and mechanics and I want to be a Mechanical Engineer in ... More »
Add instructable to: