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Establishing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Education In The High School

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Best Zone Paper Competition

Tagged Division

Council of Sections

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.596.1 - 11.596.16



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Paper Authors


Ross McCurdy Ponaganset High School

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Ross McCurdy received a B.A. in Biology and M.Ed. from Rhode Island College and is currently teaching Chemistry, Biology, and Fuel Cell classes at Ponaganset High School in Glocester, Rhode Island. An advocate of renewable energy and founder of the Fuel Cell Education Initiative, he strives to bring unique and exciting learning opportunities to students that effectively demonstrate renewable energy technologies.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Establishing Fuel Cell Education in the High School

K-12 Education Issues Relevant to Engineering

Abstract Today’s high school students are the next generation of potential fuel cell users and designers, and educating our students now is a critical step towards the widespread acceptance and implementation of hydrogen fuel cell technology in the near future. While most schools have not integrated hydrogen fuel cell technology into their curriculum, some pioneering schools have already developed programs to teach and apply fuel cell science in the classrooms; among them is the Fuel Cell Education Initiative, started in 2001. The Fuel Cell Education Initiative began with an idea and a mission: to teach students about hydrogen fuel cells as a step towards creating a clean and sustainable future. The school has now compiled an impressive collection of fuel cell technology for hands-on student use and has established a course devoted to fuel cells. With the creation of Protium, the Initiative’s fuel cell-powered band, hydrogen fuel cell education is also an extracurricular activity successfully spreading the word far beyond the school community, with fuel cell demonstration performances having taken place in Miami, San Antonio, Palm Springs, and Hollywood. Fuel cell education is approached with a hands-on, minds-on philosophy with much of the learning project-based. Last year’s capstone project was the creation of Rhode Island’s first fuel cell vehicle, a two person quadracycle with a top speed of 12 mph. Currently in the initial stages, this year’s project is the creation of a full size, street legal, battery electric-fuel cell hybrid Model T with an estimated top speed of 70 mph. The means and methods used to create the Ponaganset High’s Fuel Cell Education Initiative can be duplicated in other schools around the country. Collaboration is ongoing with the Bonneville Power Authority, which is sponsoring the development of hydrogen fuel cell curricula throughout the country. As schools and educators utilize teamwork, collaboration, and communication, these initiatives have the potential to build considerable momentum and reach a vast number of students. Students educated and aware of the many benefits of hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to make a significant contribution to their future, as they become both users of fuel cells and informed voters. The Fuel Cell Education Initiative’s success is the result of partnerships between government, industry and education, an alliance that has maximized learning opportunities in the classroom. Using this initiative as an example, the methods used in establishing a hydrogen fuel cell education program and developing such partnerships and strategies that benefit public education will be further outlined.


The environmental effects of industrial society are considerable, and the fossil fuels the modern world relies upon are in limited supply. Industry and the automobiles that we utilize daily all contribute to the environmental deterioration that includes air pollution, acid rain, and water pollution. As fuel cells produce zero emissions when fueled with hydrogen and hydrogen can be produced through sustainable means, fuel cell technology offers considerable hope for a cleaner, brighter, and sustainable future.

McCurdy, R. (2006, June), Establishing Hydrogen Fuel Cell Education In The High School Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--405

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