Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Hydrogen Fuel-Cell & Electric Power

A couple of interesting developments in alternative fueling for vehicles.

First is detailed in New Electronics magazine, and involves an alternative to an alternative! A company called EEstor is working on using capacitors to replace batteries in electric vehicles.

EEstor is partnered with the Zenn Motor Company, and their plan is to have the cityZENN (citizen?) car launched in Europe by Autumn 2009.

Using capacitors has distinct advantages over batteries - unlimited recharge/discharge cycles and extremely quick recharge - but they cannot match batteries for storage capacity [sic]. At least, not until EEstor's 'ceramic supercacitor with barium-titanate dielectric. No, I don't know either. However, they claim that these will out-perform Lion baterries for price, charge time, and safety.

The second recent announcement is a follow-on from the EnvBike - a UK design - and has led to the Suzuki Crosscage:

Crosscage's air cooled fuel cell designed by British company Intelligent Energy helps slim down this design by eliminating the need for a radiator or coolant system. Located just above the hydrogen fuel tank, the fuel cell is very compact, light, and powerful. It sends power to the motor controller which stores it in the lithium ion battery or sends it to the motor.

Through combining oxygen in the air and hydrogen from the fuel tank to create power this motorcycle's exhaust is only water vapor thus helping reduce CO2 emissions and protect the environment. On a single tank of hydrogen the crosscage can travel about 200km and has the power equivalent of 125ccs.

The crosscage from which the motorcycle gets its name is not merely an aesthetic choice but also protects the hydrogen fuel tank which is located directly behind the intersecting point. There is also a sensor at the top of the chassis which constantly checks for hydrogen leaks and shuts off the fuel tank if there are any abnormalities.

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