Wind and fuel cell cars studied

(From left to right) Courtney Bell and Justyne Dembowski (holding wind turbine); Jesse Odem and Kiki Ruiz (holding fuel cell car).

(From left to right) Courtney Bell and Justyne Dembowski (holding wind turbine); Jesse Odem and Kiki Ruiz (holding fuel cell car).
RANGELY I Students at Rangely Middle School received a grant to learn about alternative energy sources. The money was used to buy kits to build fuel cell cars and wind turbines. More than 20 kits were purchased, along with solar car kits. Students in seventh grade built solar cars and sixth graders also built the fuel cell cars. The plan is to have each grade build one of the kits.
The fuel cell cars use electrolysis to separate the hydrogen from oxygen in distilled water and a PEM membrane to capture the electron off the hydrogen and use it to power an electric motor that powers the car. The hydrogen is then combined back with oxygen via the membrane and the by-product is water. Students learned other uses for fuel cells, like space exploration and other sources of hydrogen, for instance oil.
The wind turbines use wind energy to generate electricity via an electric generator. Students calculated the amount of work the machines can produce with different number of blades and angles of blades by lifting bottles of water and measuring the mass of the water lifted. Power generated was calculated at different wind speeds. The wind turbines use a gear system and come with a generator and LED lights. Large fans were used to simulate wind.
Students learned wind energy is practical in some areas and pollution-free, but cannot generate all energy needed.