I came across this interesting idea this morning. Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies has made a Hydrogen powered bicycle capable of doing 25km/h and more than 300 kilometers on a single fuel run.
From the company’s website:
“The fuel cell systems in these light electric vehicle applications are much smaller than for automobiles or motorcycles, requiring less hydrogen, with readily available hydrogen storage technologies – making the proposition easy and attractive. The fuel cell bicycles have a top speed of 25 km/h, and can travel 300 km on a hydrogen refill. With many more fuel cell vehicles on the road, visibility is increased, meaning that the investment in public outreach and education is more efficient. Also, while providing mobility, the systems on the bicycles are also small portable power systems able to run radios, computers, lights, power tools, medical equipment, even generate heat. The possibilities are endless and the start of a critical mass can spark wider deployment of higher power applications including fuel cell powered automobiles.”
This got me thinking that as great of an idea as getting more people on bicycles is, isn’t it such a great idea because they aren’t using any energy but their own? Hydrogen doesn’t pollute, so that’s a plus. But I don’t see what benefits consumers really get from this bike. 25km/h, that is 15 miles and hour, and I can do that on my touring bike fully loaded to the gills with gear with a headwind. I’d say that 90% of people don’t ride with that much gear anyway and could go faster than this bike. The website says it will be useful for police officers, couriers, and the like, but I just don’t see it. Hydrogen cars are a good solution, but just because a hydrogen bike is cheaper doesn’t mean millions of people in developing countries or elsewhere are going to buy these up.
There are more companies producing hydrogen bicycles and they talk about the same things. Hydrogen bicycles claim to be energy savers, when compared to people driving cars, but not when compared to people riding bikes. They are also being touted as having much faster refueling times than electric bikes because they lessen the time from 3 hours to about 30 minutes. Who wants to wait at a gas station for 30 minutes? I’m sure they got to have faster options, or at least I’d hope so.
You can find the whole story on http://www.horizonfuelcell.com/mobility.htm
A real solution is the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Powered Motorcycle from a company called Intelligent Energy. This thing looks really cool and useful. If you’ve ever been to a developing country you really can feel the impact of motorcycles and scooters on the environment. Imagine rolling this out to millions of people.
- Acceleration 0 – 20 mph in 4.3s (32kph)
- 0 – 30 mph in 7.3s (48 kph)
- 0 – 50 mph in 12.1s (80kph)
- Top speed 50 mph (80kph)
- (note: ENV has been tested to 50mph – however, with further refinements and redevelopments, this top speed is expected to be exceeded)
- Range At least 100 miles (160km)
Bike mass 80 kg (Total mass including CORE)
- Hydrogen 99.9% purity
- Oxygen Taken from air
- Hydrogen refuel time less than 5 minutes