Solar energy can be converted into electricity using solar cells. However, as with wind, sunlight is an intermittent energy source and the need to store the energy arises.
This experiment demonstrates a technological solution that is similar to the one presented in the video ˝Storing wind energy in hydrogen“. The only difference lies in the fact that in this experiment electricity was generated by solar cells instead of a wind turbine.
1) Water electrolyzer / fuel cell-a reversible PEMFC (polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell)
2) Solar cell
3) Car model equipped with PEMFC and fuel(gas) storage tanks
The operation principles of fuel cells and electrolyzers are explained in the videos ˝Electrolysis of water“, ˝Hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell“ and ˝Storing wind energy in hydrogen“.
The electricity generated in the fuel cell started the electric motor which propels the car model and puts in motion an electro-mechanical rooster.
Nowadays, electric cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells are a reality, however, the technology is not without is fair share of problems that make the mass production of such vehicles prohibitive.
For example, in order to store hydrogen on board the vehicle, it has to be compressed at high pressures. Alternative option is to use metal hydrides, such as MgxNiHy. In both cases, the technology involved is quite expensive and complicated. The price of fuel cells themselves still remains high.
The car model with the fuel cell and solar cell (Fuel Cell Car Kit) was manufactured by the "Horizon" company. The rest of the mechanical equipment was assembled at the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Tartu.