MIT Clean Energy Prize 2015 Competition: Jan. 2015- April 2015


The purpose of this competition was to model a business around renewable technology innovation. I collaborated with five of my peers to design and prototype a hydrogen fuel cell unit that capable of being retrofitted with the majority of automotive vehicles. We focused our design on making the unit economically affordable and to optimize hydrogen production. Unfortunately -when tested- our product failed to produce a net gain in energy. The energy required to perform hydrolysis exceeded the energy we produced when from the combustion of hydrogen. From this experience, I developed a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of hydrogen fuel cells. I grew to understand that, for our situation, expending electricity to obtain hydrogen from water to burn as an additional fuel was wasteful, since the same electricity could have been utilized to directly power the vehicle. This would have reduced the fuel required to operate the vehicle, thus accomplishing our same goal.

© 2018 by Jonathan Burnley