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Fuel Cell Animation

US Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy - Energy Education and Workforce Development

This fuel cell animation demonstrates how a fuel cell uses hydrogen to produce electricity, with only water and heat as byproducts. The animation consists of four parts - an introduction, fuel cell components, chemical process, and fuel cell stack.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Students can explore this animation on their own and then convene to discuss this technology.

About the Science

  • There is a link to webpages with additional information.
  • Does not address the important issue of how the hydrogen is generated.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This animation is clear and concise. The fundamentals and chemistry of a proton exchange membrane in a hydrogen fuel cell are clearly demonstrated. This animation is a very good demonstration of a hydrogen fuel cell, but the content is limited.

About the Pedagogy

  • Animation illustrates what the components of a fuel cell are, the basic electro-chemistry of how it works, and applications of fuel cell stacks.
  • There are a number of engaging ways to review the animation.
  • Students can work through the animation and click on labels at their own pace.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to use. Learner can click on any part of the animation to review content.
  • The explanations provided with the animation are text-intensive.
  • There is a text and image version of this animation that could be printed: http://energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/fuel-cell-animation-text-version
  • The image quality in this animation is suitable for expansion in a web browser and for projection in a classroom.
  • Will not work on an iPad; you must have a Flash plug-in.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-PS1.B3:Some chemical reactions release energy, others store energy.


Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Systems and System Models, Energy and Matter

MS-C4.2: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.


High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

HS-PS1.A3:The structure and interactions of matter at the bulk scale are determined by electrical forces within and between atoms.

HS-PS1.A4:A stable molecule has less energy than the same set of atoms separated; one must provide at least this energy in order to take the molecule apart.

HS-PS1.B3:The fact that atoms are conserved, together with knowledge of the chemical properties of the elements involved, can be used to describe and predict chemical reactions.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Systems and System Models, Energy and Matter



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