Strange as it may seem, it is possible to create pure hydrogen by using a hydrogen fuel cell to separate it and oxygen from plain water. A water molecule (H20) is, after all, made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. By using electrolysis, you can break up these molecules into the two separate gases, oxygen and hydrogen. This procedure seems simple enough, but how simple is it, really? Can the average person actually make one of these hydrogen fuel cells? The answer is, yes. By using an electrolysis process you can actually separate oxygen and hydrogen from the water these two gases create. This electrolysis process can be used to make one of these hydrogen fuel cells. To do this, you'll need a few materials and instructions such as those you'll find below.
Step 1 – Create your Own Hydrogen Fuel Cell
To create a hydrogen fuel cell, you'll need to use the materials above, along with electrodes that are made from nickel wire. You will hen use the electricity from 4-volt batteries to separate these gases. To make a fuel cell, cut your 12-inch nickel wire into two separate pieces. Each piece will then be 6 inches long. Around the two lead ends of your volt meter, wrap each lead with nickel wire until the wire becomes a coil that you can use as an electrode.
Step 2 – Connect the Electrodes and Battery Clip
From the red wire on your battery clip, cut off the lead end, and strip off the insulation (1/2 inch). Then, do the same with the black wire of the battery clip and the second electrode you made. Around one electrode end, twist the bare part of the red wire. Do the same with the black wire and its electrode.
Step 3 – Attach the Electrodes to Your Water Glass
The wires from the battery clip that are connected to the electrodes, tape them to one end of the popsicle stick. Tape the stick onto the glass top, pour water into the glass until the glass is full enough that the water touches only the electrodes and not the battery leads.
Step 4 –Check the Volt Meter Reading
Onto the volt meter's positive terminal connect the red wire. Onto the black wire connect the negative wire. Then observe the volt meter reading, which should be between 0 and 1/10 volts.
Step 5 - Test the Fuel Cell
Bring the battery and clip together until they make a temporary connection. While they are touching one another, read the volt meter. It should indicate approximately 9 volts, and you should see bubbles coming off the electrodes. This will be the oxygen and hydrogen gas that was created from the electrolysis process. Finally, observe the volt meter readings again. This transformation of water into gas stores a portion of battery energy which is then transferred to the volt meter from the gas.