How to Make a Simple Hydrogen Fuel Cell


Introduction: How to Make a Simple Hydrogen Fuel Cell

About: 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 the future. Actually anything in the field of engineering would do. :P

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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

Step 2: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 



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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.

3 replies

You can separate the water with copper wire also

Are you sure copper will work?

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

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.

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.

2 replies

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?

What steps did you follow?

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.

Does not this Instructable fall under plagiarism?

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

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

2 replies

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.

Haha thanks HeathH

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.

1 reply

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

hi,is that liquied only water ??

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

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