Fuel cell technology could revolutionize the future of transportation, and you can use the Hydrocar to experiment with it today! This futuristic vehicle is powered by a clean-energy fuel cell that converts hydrogen gas to electricity and water. The two onboard tanks store water that is first converted to hydrogen and oxygen gas through electrolysis. In just a few minutes the hydrogen gas tank is full and the Hydrocar is ready to run. Turn it on and watch it go as the hydrogen and oxygen are recombined in the efficient fuel cell to produce a DC current that powers the car's motor. This process can be repeated again and again!
The Hydrocar is designed to independently operate in circles and maneuver around obstacles. The flashing blue LED light in its cockpit indicate that the fuel cell is producing energy. Its next-generation reversible polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell is designed to operate with lower-pressure hydrogen, which allows for a simpler onboard refueling design. Scientists are working to apply similar technology on a larger scale with full-size cars.
The Hydrocar includes both an efficient solar cell and an AA battery pack to power the electrolysis phase so you can experiment with it indoors or out. Also includes assembly instructions and an educational CD-ROM. Some assembly is required. You provide two AA batteries.
This kit becomes a full unit study with the included Renewable Energy Science Education CD-ROM, which contains a 129-page digital (PDF) textbook on renewable energy by Dr. Colleen Spiegel, a 124-page experiment manual, flash animations to show how fuel cells work, technical support, and a kit assembly guide. The textbook includes 7 chapters that cover topics such as climate change, solar energy, wind energy, electrolysis, fuel cells, hydrogen power, and electronics. The material is appropriate for middle school through high school, and advanced topics are included for the upper grade levels. The experiment manual is written for the complete Renewable Energy Science Kit, but has tips for adapting the experiments to this specific kit. Compatible with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/7.
The Hydrocar can be used as a science fair project. Here are just a few project ideas:
- Does solar energy or battery power refuel the Hydrocar quicker?
- What is the best time of the day to refuel the Hydrocar with energy from the sun?
- How do rough or smooth surfaces affect the amount of time the Hydrocar can run before refueling?
- How does temperature affect the refueling process?
- How does temperature affect the amount of time the Hydrocar can run before refueling?
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