Fall has begun and with it a flurry of activity in our education and outreach program. We added four new docents to our program, three Environmental Systems graduate students and one undergraduate in Environmental Resources Engineering. Our program now has eight docents, our largest group thus far.
During their first week, docents received training in our Hydrogen Technology and Education Curriculum (HyTEC) electrolyzer/fuel cell lab equipment and then provided backup support for the HSU Engineering classes that performed the lab. Even though the HyTEC project was developed for high school chemistry students (as described below), the positive feedback received after performing the lab in college courses demonstrates how the lab can be readily incorporated into college level courses.
The HyTEC project began in 2005 with funding from the Department of Energy. Project partners include lead contractor the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, SERC, and AC Transit Authority. The goal of the project was to develop and test a hydrogen and fuel cell curriculum for high school chemistry students, and to provide a framework for students to discuss the current challenges and potential promise of a hydrogen economy in the context of energy use and resources. SERC’s role in the project is development of the electrolyzer/fuel cell lab sets, manufacturing a Stack-in-the-Box® portable fuel cell system, and providing curriculum development support and technical oversight.
To date, we have successfully developed a two-week hydrogen and fuel cell curriculum module, designed and fabricated eight student fuel cell sets, and manufactured a Stack-in-a-Box®. We have completed three high school trials testing the fuel cell and electrolyzer equipment and corresponding curriculum, as well as the HSU Engineering class activities.
HyTEC is a success; in each venue where we have tested the materials, we have received enthusiasm and support from both teachers and students. As we wind up our currently funded work, project partners are seeking additional funding to ensure even more students and teachers get “HyTEC.”