‘Project Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Rock Band’ debut at the London H2FC Supergen Summer BBQ

The first London H2FC Supergen Summer Social saw Hydrogen & Fuel Cell researchers from across the capital enjoy some burgers, beer and zero-emission music powered by a 10 kW PEMFC-supercapacitor hybrid power generator developed by students and researchers at Imperial College.

The event which took place at Imperial College Union on August 6th, saw researchers from the College joined by scientists and engineers from other institutions, including University College London. Whilst the BBQ attendees discussed their research and potential collaborations they listened to Michael Parkes, a PhD student at Imperial College, perform a number of tracks including Nirvana classic ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ on a guitar powered by the zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-supercapacitor power generator.

Michael Parkes even manages to get tipped whilst entertaining the crowds at the first H2FC Supergen BBQ

The 10 kW PEMFC-supercapacitor hybrid power generator that powered the guitar was developed by the R&D division of Imperial Racing Green (IRG), an undergraduate teaching project aimed at educating the engineers of tomorrow about low-carbon technology through the design, development  and testing of fuel cell and battery related demonstrators.

Billy Wu, PhD student at Imperial College and BBQ attendee explains in more detail how the device works:

“A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen in the air to make electricity with the only by-product  being water. This zero-emission technology has an efficiency 2-3 times greater than the internal combustion engine without any of the associated greenhouse gases. The fuel cell generator, which is made as part of the Imperial Racing Green teaching project, takes hydrogen from a compressed cylinder and oxygen from atmospheric air as its fuel. This is then fed into the fuel cell stack, where the chemical reaction occurs, to produce water and electricity. Water is then blown out of the Fuel Cell  and the electricity can be used to power any number of items. These devices typically, have an efficiency of approximately 50% so for every 1 kW of electrical energy you get 1 kW of heat. The fuel cell also has a water cooling system to prevent it from overheating. The power produced by the fuel cell is in the form of Direct Current (DC), whilst most domestic appliances use Alternating Current (AC). Therefore, the power from the Fuel Cell enters into a power inverter which steps up the DC power to AC mains which is what comes out of the sockets at home (230 V-50 Hz). The 10 kW fuel cell power generator produces enough electricity to power 3 typical UK homes. ”

H2FC Supergen would like to thank all that attended the BBQ and we hope that you had fun!

The Journey of the Generator

From the lab to the BBQ

Some fine tunning in the lab before the debut
Some fine tunning in the lab before the debut


On the way to the venue
Stopping by the Royal Albert Hall
Stopping by the Royal Albert Hall
Arrived and ready to rock!