A study on the performance of proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells and solar electrolysis for hydrogen production
THE PERFORMANCE OF PROTON-EXCHANGE-MEMBRANE FUEL CELLS AND SOLAR ELECTROLYSIS FOR HYDROGEN PRODUCTION
Lui Wan Yin
for the degree of Master of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong
in March 2003
Solar energy is a free, clean and renewable energy source. Photovoltaic solar panels can convert solar energy into electrical energy. One of the problems in utilizing solar energy is that it is only available during the day. Therefore, the energy needs to be stored up so that a continued flow of energy can be supplied even when there is no sunlight. Batteries are commonly used to store electricity. However, lead and cadmium in battery are toxic to human beings. The lifetime of a battery is short and the eventual disposal of batteries poses environmental problems.
In this study, a fuel cell was used to supply power to varIOUS domestic appliances. A water electrolysis system powered by a photovoltaic solar panel was designed to provide the hydrogen source to the fuel cell. The possibility of using hydrogen as a medium of storing solar generated electrical power was studied. The characteristics and performance of the fuel cell were tested, and the study concluded that fuel cells provided power supply quickly and efficiently for both DC and AC
The hydrogen production rate of the photovoltaic solar electrolysis system was also measured, and the factors affecting the production of hydrogen by water electrolysis investigated. The optimum concentration of KOH in electrolyte was found to be 6M. The study recommended the use of gas diffusion, since it can reduce the bubbling effect and increase the rate of reaction.
Finally, the capability of using solar hydrogen on fuel cell was studied, the size of the photovoltaic solar panel estimated. Metal hydride was recommended for storing the hydrogen produced. Further studies on hydrogen purification and storage, and alternative methods of providing electricity, were suggested.
School:The University of Hong Kong
School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:fuel cells testing solar batteries hydrogen as
Date of Publication:01/01/2003