Clarification on Student's Solar Hydrogen Car
Micah Hinton did not design the car, but bought it as a kit.
Pure Energy Systems News
Copyright © 2005
CORTEZ, COLORADO USA - While Micah Hinton does deserve
some credit as a student with an inquiring mind, he
doesn't quite rise to the prodigy engineer level ascribed to him in a story
circulating about his allegedly original Solar Hydrogen car that runs on water
and needs no replenishment.
His instructor, Colin Baird, clarifies that Micah did
not build the model car from scratch as the story implies, but bought it as a
kit from Kelvin.com, which supplies science kits for students.
"He was creative in coming up with ideas for tests to run on the
car," said Baird. "However, there is nothing here that isn't
already out there."
Fuel cells have been around for four decades, having been used on the Apollo
missions for onboard power.
This kit features what is called a "reversible fuel cell." Not
only does it run on hydrogen when hydrogen is input, but it also goes the other
direction as well, producing hydrogen when electricity is input. "It
is standard electrolysis," said Baird. The solar cells provide the
electrical input. Water is conserved in the process, going back and forth
from gas to liquid.
One of the clever features of the kit is the way it stores the hydrogen and
oxygen. One tube from one side of the fuel cell conveys Hydrogen, while
another tube, from the other side conveys Oxygen. These two gases are fed
from the tubes into the top side of hollow canisters whose bottoms are open and
submerged in rectangular water tank. As the tubes fill with the H or O
gas, they displace the water in them; then, as they empty, the water refills the
canisters. Thus, no pressurized gas is involved. "This makes it more
safe for students" said Baird.
The objective of Micah's experiment was to see if a fuel-cell powered car was
more or less efficient than a solar-cell powered car. His results showed
that the fuel cell system was more efficient in its conversion of energy from
one form to another.
# # #
- Sepp Hasslberger alerted us to the
Haliburton provided editorial assistance.
Colin Baird, Southwest Open School in Cortez: (970) 565-1150
Picked up the overstated story.
Page composed by Sterling
D. Allan May 13, 2005
Last updated July 16, 2005