Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Fuel Cell

Fuel Cell

Spring 2010 Toys
Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $179.95
Fuel Cell 10 is a science kit and model car rolled into one. Through experiments, kids can make a car that is fueled by water and sunlight. The excellent 64-page manual demonstrates and explains the use of direct current from batteries, solar cell energy production, and the function of the Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC).

Learn basic electrical definitions and how to use a digital multimeter. Use the multimeter to measure power provided by the battery pack, the solar panel, and the fuel cell. See the microcrystalline structure of a solar cell and learn how it works to generate electricity. Find out how a reversible fuel cell is made and how it works. Learn about state-of-the-art vehicles (cars, boats, and planes) that operate using alternative energy sources such as fuel cells. Good background information regarding our use of fossil fuels, the long term effects of this use, and the future of energy production/consumption in our world is also presented.

Testers did find one glitch. The fuel cell in the kit was slightly different from the one shown in the illustrations; the lower ports were alternate in our model, while they were parallel in the manual. The only consequences of this were that testers had to reread the text several times to make sure they had it right.

Although initially testers found the technology to be a bit intimidating, the projects themselves were reasonably easy to understand and complete. Ultimately, the fuel cell worked well and it can be used again and again, and as our testers pointed out - again.

Ellie and Don Homce   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

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Thames & Kosmos

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