Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Sep 11

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bicycles

Posted in Energy Inventions | Fuel Cells | Hydrogen Fuel | Transportation

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bicycle Several companies in the past have showcased their plans to use hydrogen fuel cell technology to power a bicycle. Recently, Chinese company Pearl Hydrogen became the latest company to showcase the idea, at a recent technology convention in Shanghaimart. The 20″ wheel prototype weighs 32kg and is powered by a PEM fuel cell and brushless electric motor. The top speed is 25km/hour and the 600L twin cylinder fuel cells have a maximum range of 100km. Some trial orders have already been placed for 20,000 Yuan (about US$2,650). The company is optimistic that their hydrogen bike will be successful enough to begin mass producing bikes for the mainstream Chinese market, for a more affordable 4,000 Yuan (US$530). There are no current plans to ship the fuel cell bicycles overseas.

Fuel Cell Bike

Of course there are still technical challenges to overcome, like where people will refill the fuel cells. At present there is no hydrogen refueling infrastructure in China, so customers will have to purchase refills from local suppliers. However, there is talk of expanding the fuel network in China to accommodate future hydrogen powered cars. The electric bicycle industry still has a long way to go in terms of battery technology and efficiency, so there are likely to be many electrical and mechanical flaws to discover and overcome as they produce more bikes. Bicycles take a beating, so the systems will have to be rugged enough to endure the daily commute.

Valeswood Hydrogen Bike

Hydrogen Bike There are several other companies working towards developing small-scale fuel cell systems for bicycles. Earlier this year Valeswood ETD Ltd., a UK based environmental technology company announced plans to sell a US$1,400 hydrogen bicycle using their patented Hyrocell technology. The 40L fuel tank pales in comparison to the Pearl bike’s capacity, but the versatile design of the HC-100 and HC-200 fuel cells allows for connection to larger external fuel cells.

Masterflex Cargo Bike

Cargo Bike In May 2007 German company Masterflex announce their new Cargo Bike concept, a sleek fuel cell tricycle design. Powered by 250 watt mini fuel cells, the tricycles have a patented “˜Lopes’ system that equalizes air pressure to avoid leaks and possible explosions. They aim to market the trike to shipping and cargo companies, airports and postal outlets, and for many other industrial applications.

The Hydrocycle

Hydrocycle There was a lot of buzz about Manhattan Scientifics’ Hydrocycle, first unveiled at an Italian motor show in 2000. It was officially labeled an “˜invention’ in 2001 by Time Magazine. It also had a range of 100km and a top speed of 30km/hour. At the time company CEO Jack Harrod was very excited about preliminary test results and stated that the bike was “wonderfully quiet and gives off no emissions other than a small amount of water vapor. It is a real experience to ride through a forest and only hear the sound of the tires on the dirt road.”

ENV Fuel Cell Motorbike

ENV Bike The ENV is the world’s first hydrogen powered motorbike, designed by UK company Intelligent Energy. Like the fuel cell bicycles the ENV is quiet, but it has a greater range of 100km, and it can travel at speeds up to 50km/hour! They are ENV is lightweight, streamlined and aerodynamic, and designed for fun urban or off-road transportation. However, the usual challenges of hydrogen fuel production and distribution remain, and the bikes are still too expensive for mass consumption.

It will be some time before bicycle enthusiasts will be able to order a fuel cell bike. As a bicycle mechanic I remain a skeptic, especially considering how much work is still needed to improve the range and durability of current retail electric bicycle systems. But like any new technology, I hope we continue to refine and improve upon these concepts until they become feasible modes of transportation.


Check out these cool Fuel Cell Bicycle Lights!

  • Rachel Eberson

    This is a great article! Even though it’s not happening in the U.S, it could inspire the country to reduce the amount of pollution with hydrogen cell powered bikes.

  • william

    Hi, and cheers, fuel-cell bicycle innovators;
    Just one little query – do any of the bicycles listed here still use conventional ‘pedal-power’ when needed, i.e., up hills???

    Thank you, and please reply to william, email address –

  • Les

    Just another battery. Don’t expect much in my lifetime.

  • Chris

    As I reviewed the article about the hydrogen fuel cell developing in China, I heard Rush Limbaugh admit the rest of the word hates us, because we have stolen their resources and forced production to meet out demands of cheep oil. He also said they smile when we hurt and go into an economic down turn. I also red about the “Splash and Dash” subsidies that are costing Americans millions of dollars a day, but there is no subsidy for the common man to make use of hydrogen. Does it make sense to anyone? Other countries are better at using less expensive and cleaner technology than us, because the big business needs time to figure out how to exploit it for maximum profits.

    What is the hold up? I think we should move to China if they would have us and help them develop the answer, because Americans seem to want to bathe in stupidity.

    Limbaugh also said we deserve it as a country to be hated by half the world. Makes the war in Iraq seem useless if hydrogen is the answer. We can use our own oil to develop plastic products right down to the garbage sacks that end up in the landfills. Plastic can also be recycled. American has developed the “Generation Kill” to replace the baby boomers over cheep oil. And, congress sits doing nothing, supporting subsidies to big business, when the ordinary man can use the help converting his truck to hydrogen. Instead, we have to pay for the technology and go through the selection process of trial and error in selecting the best source to trust for conversion instructions. We failed ourselves with government and going to war, because the twin towers could have been prevented beginning in the 1970s after losing the contract for cheep Russian oil to China, so we went to the Arabs. HUGE MISTAKE, and should have went to hydrogen then as the technology has existed for a hundred years.

  • casey

    Is this liquid hydrogen or hydrogen gas?

  • Carol

    I saw this on one of the cable channels last night. Where do I get one of these? I would love to create the buzz in NH for all to use in the summer. I believe NH is one of the states with the largest number of registered motorcycles… here is to the future! Clean, quiet, efficient and fun!

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