Electricity Production: There is another way (interim Jan-April 2007 application)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

The need for power in today's society is continuing to grow substantially. However, this power requirement is taking its toll on both remaining world-wide fossil fuel reserves, and the environment with growing greenhouse gas emissions. The latter has been particularly attracting considerable media coverage with projections that further rises in average global temperature will lead to disasterous consequences. There is consequently a need to start addressing these problems immediately. One way of reducing energy requirements is through more efficient energy conversion, and in this respect fuel cells are attracting considerable worldwide interest. Fuel cells are electrochemical devices which allow the direct conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy. They can be used in a wide range of applications, e.g. transport, stationary power, and portable devices. Their growing importance is due to the fact that they offer much higher efficiencies than conventional power generation systems along with vastly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore if hydrogen is used as the fuel, then the exhaust is simply water. A number of recent reports have predicted that fuel cells will play a key role in helping the UK to meet its' environmental targets. With this change in the way electricity is produced, there is a need to introduce the principles of fuel cells to schoolchildren and the general public, since they will be the future users of this technology, and in the case of the former the future researchers in this area. In addition to the relevance of fuel cells to the UK's environmental strategy and indeed future economy, there is also an increasing need to generate more excitement in science in schools, which hands-on experience of fuel cells can offer. This project will build on a previous successful project developing fuel cell kits for loan to schools to make continued use of these kits in the future through loans to local schools and display at exhibitions. This will help to introduce and enthuse the general public and schoolchildren with the area of new energy technologies, aimed at helping to solve global pollution concerns.

Publications

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Description A highly successful stand with hands-on activities was produced for the BA festival of Science and Brighton Science Festival.

The stand received very favourable feedback from schoolchildren and teachers
Exploitation Route The hands-on activities have been further utilised at other events, e,g Thinktank museum
Sectors Energy

 
Description Hands on diaplay at the Brighton Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A hands on display on fuel cells was produced for the Brighton Science Festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007