Make a Direct Blonde Fuel Cell (DBFC)

Unleash the awesome power locked in the secret of blonde hair and get free electricity forever!

Okay if you believed that you might actually be a blonde. As may be here's a quick instructable to create a metal oxide battery using household materials....if you build model airplanes that is otherwise it will be off to the hobby store for some carbon fiber rod.

The features a new design using a wide mouth jar and a carbon rod electrode that seems very promising.

This cell uses over the counter hydrogen peroxide ( a 3% solution ), aluminum foil and a bit of carbon to create a simple metal oxide battery. This is the first alternative electrolyte that we've experimented with.

Hydrogen peroxide was suggested as an oxidant to improve performance in an Al Air fuel cell. I'm continuing to evaluate electrolytes over time to see how they store and release energy.

It occurred to me as I was writing this that the peroxide might have been meant to supplement a saltwater electrolyte by providing additional oxygen. I will investigate that and update this as appropriate.

In the meantime I've got this far down the road with positive results and a new cell/electrode design so let's get started....

Step 1: Bill of Materials

As usual with a simple fuel cell the basic list is very simple:

Aluminum foil
Hydrogen Peroxide
Some carbon rod or carbon fiber rod. I used carbon fiber rod from my local hobby store. This stuff is pretty good but must be cut with a hacksaw
A wide mouth jar. As you will see when we get into assembly the aluminum foil lines the inside of the jar. This was a pain with the jar I used. You can use a sode bottle and if you figure out an elegant way to do this please let me know.

A drill and 1/8" drill bit, plus the smallest one you have to make a vent.
A hacksaw for cutting the carbon fiber

A meter is handy for checking voltages.

Okay if we've got all that we're ready to go.

Step 2: The Aluminum Anode

Okay first we're going to make the aluminum anode. This will be oxidized in order to produce electricity.

Cut off a big enough piece of aluminum to line the inside of the jar and extend out over the top.

Trim this down to an 'L' shape ( see picture ) so that base will line the inside of the jar and the top of the 'L' will extend out of the jar.

Carefully roll this tight enough to fit smoothly into the jar ( tougher than it sounds). Once its inserted the aluminum lead will extend out of the jar.

Okay now we're ready to take on the carbon fiber rod.

Step 3: Creating the Cathode Assembly.

Now we're going to make the cathode by inserting a piece of carbon rod through a hole in the cap for the bottle, we will also add a small vent as this vents hydrogen and we want to make sure it gets out.

Cut a length of the carbon rod long enough to extend two or three inches above the top. Now take your drill and drill a 1/8" hole more or less in the center of the cap. NOTE: Drill a hole large enough for the carbon rod you are using. It should fit snugly.

Replace the 1/8" bit with your smallest bit and drill an offset hole for venting (illustrated with toothpick).

This picture also shows the aluminum foil after it has been rolled, inserted into the jar and opened out.

It is very, very important that the carbon rod NOT come in contact with the aluminum. Make the center is open.

Okay, lets put it all together and see what we got...

Step 4: Charging and Operating

Okay now we're all ready to go. Open the hydrogen peroxide and fill the jar 1/2 to 3/4 full. You can actually cover the main body of the aluminum if you want.

There didn't seem to much in the way of an initial reaction that was very exciting...

Carefully bend the aluminum tab over the mouth of the jar and lightly screw on the cap. The aluminum should protrude below the cap enough to attach a lead. Careful with this it can be fragile. Of course I'm using cheap foil too....

Insert the carbon fiber rod through the hole in the center until it rests on the bottom.

Connect your leads or a load across the two electrodes and voila.

As you can see it stablilized around 485 mV about the same as a saturated salt solution. while a salt slurry electrolyte generates about 700.

It's quick, easy and fun. Hook up two or three in series to get enough juice to light an LED or drive a small motor.



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    15 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Isnt it easier to just put a nail trought the lid .

    Am i right in thinking that this is a leidners flask.

    2 replies

    A nail might introduce a secondary reaction which clouds the measurement. That's why researchers use them, otherwise they could get ( for example ) a galvanic reaction.

    I have no idea what a leidner's flask is, I'm not really a scientist I just play one on Instructables.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You can get a graphite rod from a regular dead battery and use that instead of the carbon fiber rod.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You are absolutely correct. I was thinking about making an instructable for extracting these, what do you think?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You are exactly correct. I'm going add disassembling a battery for the high quality carbon core in my next energy related 'ible.

    egbertfitzwillythe gizmoman

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    It's a carbon fiber tube used for building model planes. I have no idea how its used in that context so 'push rod' could easily describe it. It's made by Midwest Products, Inc. and the label just says 'Carbon Fiber'

    the gizmomanegbertfitzwilly

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    It's either a push rod(used for linking a servo to an airplane's control surfaces ) or used to strengthen and lighten the plane

    k_man93the gizmoman

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    to be more specific, balsa is used for the skeleton of the plane, and is occasionally strengthened by hardwood, i am not too sure what exactly that is. but i have never heard of a pushrod being used like that... but i do say that it might not be a bad idea

    the gizmomank_man93

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    I've seen balsa pushrods and hard wood is problably oak or plywood


    Absolutely. In fact I only made this instructable to create some cells for my next instructable "How to wire in series or in parallel". Okay I only made this instructable because I thought it was clever and I needed some create some cells for....


    That's a function of aluminum surface area and electrolyte strength. Max voltage out of a single cell is 1.2V ( versus 2V for a conventional lead/acid battery ) and current is the variable factor. The more surface area of aluminum which is exposed or the more aggressive the oxidizing agent the higher the current. The approach I would recommend would be a salt slurry electrolyte. Cut two slices of sponge and wrap the foil around it. If you use a dried compressed sponge you can get several layers by threading an aluminum foil strip between slices of the sponge. Make sure the carbon rod is insulated from the aluminum by the sponge. I used this technique for the air cathode in my "Make a Microbial Fuel Cell Part II" 'ible. Insert this assembly into a jar and fill with a saturated saltwater solution or slurry. This should give you a solid 700 mV. If you use consistent assemblies you should get a reliable power source with a predictable current flow.