Intro: 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:
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.