Australian researchers have built a bicycle which can go up to 125 kilometres on a single battery charge and $2 of hydrogen.
The Hy-Cycle, created by a team including Associate Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou and Technical Officer Paul Brockbank from the University of NSW, is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
The fuel cell provides electrical assistance with pedalling, enabling the rider to easily travel long distances or up hills.
“Cities such as London and Paris are trying to provide fleets of bicycles that people can hire for a few hours a day to commute to and from work,” Aguey-Zinsou says. “This is a key market for the Hy-Cycle.”
See the bike in action:
“What we’ve been trying to develop in my lab is a new way to store hydrogen in a very compact fashion,” Aguey-Zinsou says.
Hydrogen for the Hy-Cycle is carried in a 2.5 kilogram canister adjacent to the pedals. The canister feeds the fuel cell, which is located under the seat and continuously recharges a Lithium-ion battery.
One kilogram of the standard metal hybride can store 100 litres of hydrogen but Aguey-Zinsou and colleagues at the Material Energy Research Laboratory are developing a method to hold the same amount using just 50 grams of storage material.
Hydrogen for the Hy-Cycle can be produced with as little as 100 millilitres of water. The water is split into its elements – oxygen and hydrogen – and the fuel cell recombines the hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity.
However, Aguey-Zinsou sees a future where riders buy replacement canisters from a network of distribution points.
Technical specifications for the Hy-Cycle:
- Range: 125km at 20km/hour
- Maximum speed: 35km/hour
- Battery: 518 Wh Lithium-ion battery that is continuously recharged by the fuel cell and hydrogen canister. The battery itself can be recharged in six hours on mains power
- Fuel cell power: 100W
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