Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jun 24

New Hydrogen Powered Urban Car by Riversimple

Posted in Fuel Cells | Hydrogen Fuel | Transportation

Riversimple Hydrogen Car A new hydrogen car was unveiled in London, UK by Riversimple. This Riversimple Urban Car (RUC) is powered by fuel cells. These fuels cells combine hydrogen with oxygen from the air to release energy. What comes out from the exhaust pipe is not toxic fumes but water. Even using hydrogen fuel from source to car’s fuel tank, its carbon emissions for urban driving are only 30 grams/km. The weight of this hydrogen car is 772 pounds. You can travel 186 miles on just 2.2 pounds of liquid hydrogen. The Riversimple Urban Car is powered by a cheap, 6-kilowatt fuel. The car’s top speed is 50 miles per hour (80.4672 kilometres per hour). It can be accelerated from 0 to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 5.5 seconds.

Every year, millions and millions of cars release toxic exhaust fumes into our atmosphere. With the help of clean and green technology hydrogen cars may be a solution to this problem. Although these cars are advantageous in various ways, the manufacturers will have to clear many hurdles. One of the problems is lack of infrastructure. We know that when the need arises; hydrogen fueling stations could be put into existing gas stations. But it will take time, perhaps years. Channels of distribution that can transport hydrogen all over the country will be needed too. We shouldn’t forget that setting up infrastructure would cost millions of dollars.

There are other main problems related to using hydrogen cars. Their fuel cells are prepared using platinum and we all know that platinum is more expensive than diamond. If we want to see widespread use of hydrogen cars we have to find an alternative to platinum required in the fuel cells. Fuel cells are difficult to make powerful enough to power a conventional vehicle. We also know that the hydrogen they use is hard to store in large quantities.

How Riversimple Urban Car (RUC) is going to tackle the above mentioned problems? Riversimple founder and automotive engineer, Hugo Spowers elaborates, “If your car is light and efficient enough, the hurdles are lowered.” He also laid emphasis on the company’s original, light design that will help overcome some of the drawbacks that have held back the development of hydrogen cars. The RUC is powered by four electric motors. One motor will be attached to each of the four wheels. Attaching the motors directly to the wheels makes it possible to regain as much as 50 per cent of the energy, the energy that we lose to friction using conventional brakes. That is considerably more than most hybrid and electric cars manage, which are limited by the fact that their electric motors are connected to only one pair of wheels. Another advantage is the RUC doesn’t have a battery. Instead of batteries they are using a bank of ultracapacitors. These ultracapacitors will take on and release energy much more rapidly. They are supposed to provide most of the power to get the car moving. If we compare Riversimple’s ultracapacitors with Honda’s prototype FCX Clarity hydrogen car we will find that former fuel cell is 1/16th the size of the fuel cell of the later.

The manufactures of RUC asserts that they have built up the prototype from scratch and according to them it will be commercially possible to mass produce them quickly than the major auto manufacturers experimenting with adapting more conventional cars to hydrogen. Honda forecasts that its FCX Clarity hydrogen car will be available in market around 2018, but Riversimple is certain that they can lease its first fleet in 2011 and mass produce in 2013. It is true you can’t own a RUC but get it on lease. Spowers confirms, “That means we are driven to encourage people to keep them for as long as possible rather than replacing their vehicle quickly, as is usual in the car business.”

  • Julia Ana

    It looks like a baby buggy.

  • Chris Thornton

    That’s sleek. I could never fit in it. I’m 6’4

  • Robert Morrison

    All humans combined (factories, cars, etc) produce only 8% of the world’s GH gases. Water-table pollution & deforestation are issues. Solar power is the solution.

  • Leila Holm

    Why do hybrid cars have to be so damn ugly? A great idea is spoiled by bad design…

  • Eirini Anagnostakou

    Liked what i heard on the video!

  • Tina Steadman

    I want one! Why do they make environmentally sound cars so expensive though?

  • Robert Acree

    Because the research involved with the new technology costs a lot. So, they have to make the car expensive due to the cost going into each one… otherwise, they lose money.

  • Donna Rossi Allen

    It looks awesome AND it’s an AltE Vehicle! Perfect combo!

  • Francisco A Roque

    Let’s all get an AIR Car while they decide to make this car workable, the thing is, let’s move away from gasoline and have the oil cartels drink it. Thats how I feel about them for trying to raise the gas price everyday, so as soon as I can afford an air car, I swear I will get it.

  • Liu Jinhai

    This is a very good car, it is less space.

    Platinum, I would like to with the scientific concept of development, there will be a corresponding solution.

  • vijay desai

    Why cannot we convert present systeme with the new system.If the shape size and price is right then it becomes easy to sell the vehicle.

  • Mark G

    I would just like to note that water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas and according to Roger Pielke, Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, “As fuel cell cars are suggested as a solution to global climate change caused by rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions, they are frequently misidentified as “zero-emissions vehicles.” Fuel cell vehicles emit water vapor. A fleet could have the potential to emit amounts large enough to affect local or regional distribution of water vapor. Variation in water vapor affects local, regional, and global climates (1).”

    Therefore, a fleet or a complete adaption of fuel cell technology that emits water vapor would be trading off one harmful emission with another. The repercussions of utilizing this method of hydrogen conversion should be noted and, until a better solution is devised, avoided.

  • Damien Levy

    I completely over looked the greenhouse effect, thank you Mark. I’m doing research for a school project to see why we should or should not switch to hydrogen for our main energy provider So once again, thank you.

  • Richard McCall

    Very interesting! I am looking for a highly efficient way to produce hydrogen for truck applications from renewable sources and am seriously considering alternatives. The price of gas is out of sight has no current competition.

    Please advise of all options. I have two GMC 7.4 engines that I would like to start and run full time on hydrogen!

  • christopheroldfield9

    Hydrogen powered cars can seem expensive due to the manufacture but as the technology in the next few years will get more standardized and cheaper to manufacture the prices will drop and countries will invest in hydrogen pumps in gas stations. Because of the climate change insurance companies are charging more gas guzzling cars and reward the smaller engine, hybrid and hydrogen engines with low insurance prices because of the lack CO2 that is produced when driving these cars.

    Insurance companies charge less for these cars because there is not as much power in these types yet and know that is cause for fewer accidents in these cars so insurance will still be cheap.

  • Tina

    Yay clean energy! but them problem is, with the current economy, we can’t afford to buy one of those cars, and we can’t afford the gas prices seeing as they rise between 2-10 cents a day. if we got rid of our gas cars to buy one of those models, then we would be in more debt because of those prices. if we stay with our current cars, then we are still losing money, and we are hurting the environment.

    Those people who design those cars are losing money anyway, since only the wealthy can afford to buy them right now, and those wealthy people have BMW’s and sports cars, not little ugly cars.

  • Tony

    Looks nice but kind of small. Why are all energy efficient vehicles ‘small’? I like to see a vehicle supporting at least an additional 2 passengers, so, driver, and 3 passengers. And leasing? NEVER! What the heck is up with that??? Leasing stinks, always did. I like to own my car. On the positive side I think we’re moving in the right direction. The political and ‘greedy’ sides of manufacturers are hopefully negotiable.

  • Tony

    …oh and I forgot. Years ago just before they came on the market with the “affordable” hybrid, they said it would be a car affordable for everyone and in the price range of about $8000 dollars. The greediness of manufacturers knows no borders apparently. Try to buy one and you’re in for $40000 depending on the make. What happened with those promises? I can see (for sure) the same happening with the hydrogen car. Sigh… we’re still dreaming to think we get anything for cheap.

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