The Hydrocyclic Cell - A Novel Improved-Efficiency Fuel Cell
Milo Eirew
University Hill Secondary
Floor Location : S 076 E

Hydrogen fuel cells represent an exceptionally environmentally friendly way to generate electricity, consuming readily-available hydrogen as fuel and generating just water as a by-product. However, usage of this technology has been limited by fuel cell efficiency (40-60%) as well as initial costs. In my project, I was able to invent and model a more efficient fuel cell based on the accumulation of potential energy.

Using two developing technologies, the electrolyzer (which passes a current through water, to split it into hydrogen and oxygen gas), and the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell (which converts hydrogen and oxygen into water with gain of electricity), I was able to model a device which collects the potential energy of the recondensed water based on its height. Therefore, as the height increases, so does the energy returned, and the efficiency of the fuel cell. The current efficiency cap for PEM fuel cells is about 60%. With the Hydrocyclic Cell, at the edge of the gas-containing part of the atmosphere, there is the potential to add an extra 11% efficiency to the fuel cell.

The additional efficiency would have huge implications for the usage of PEM fuel cells, which would then be a contender to oppose the now less efficient and more environmentally-damaging fossil fuels (with an efficiency of just over 40%).

This novel approach to fuel cell efficiency can make important and exciting contributions to electrical conservation, atmospheric science, and environmental conservation.