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You are here:
PureEnergySystems.com > News > May 12, 2005

Clarification on Student's Solar Hydrogen Car

Micah Hinton did not design the car, but bought it as a kit.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News
Copyright © 2005

Micah Hinton

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.

Fuel Cell Car
Fuel Cell Car available
from Kelvin.com

"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 story.
- Mary-Sue Haliburton provided editorial assistance.



Colin Baird, Southwest Open School in Cortez: (970) 565-1150

Related Coverage

Picked up the overstated story.

See also

Page composed by Sterling D. Allan May 13, 2005
Last updated July 16, 2005





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