Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

May 13

Zero Emissions Motorcycle

Posted in Electric Cars | Transportation

Zero Emissions Motorcycle When we think about green energy vehicles we often think about modest designs and low speeds. But 6 final-year engineering students of Kingston University have designed a bike that dispels all myths about green vehicles. This bike has the ability to reach speeds of 102mph, race around a 38 mile mountainous course and is powered by batteries that can be charged from a standard household socket! They will take this bike to the world’s first zero-emissions Grand Prix this summer. The Kingston team will be competing with 24 eco-bikes from America, India, Italy, Germany and Austria at the 2009 Isle of Man TTXGP. Mr. Paul Brandon who is the Course Director for motorsport and motorcycle engineering shared his views, “Being green doesn’t have to mean slow. There are too many skeptics when it comes to electric vehicles but we all need to reduce our CO2 output and this initiative is taking a huge leap in that direction. The ideas we and others put to the test on the racing circuit are the ones most likely to become commonplace on the road.”

Students were working on this project since October last year. This project is also a part of their final assessment. The bike is run from a custom-built, 72-volt battery. According to Mr. Brandon, “The energy density of batteries is far less than that of petrol or diesel so how we manage the energy we carry is critical to our success in the race. The bike we have designed has a whole vehicle efficiency of 90 per cent, so we are only wasting 10 per cent of what we carry. By comparison a petrol-based vehicle wastes 70 per cent of the energy it carries.”

Alex Jones-Dellaportas, one of the team members claimed they have designed the bike through different stages. They focused on making the bike faster and lighter. Most of the materials they used for the bike were recycled. Another student elaborated further that appearance wise the bike looks like any other bike but there is a huge difference. This motorbike has no internal combustion engine, no exhaust system and no fuel tank. It goes without saying that the overall CO2 usage, including the carbon dioxide generated to charge the batteries, will be around 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a petrol or diesel-power bike. Gonzalo Carrasco, another student of the team says, “People need to realize that this technology is the future. By entering green races and building green designs we are hoping policy-makers will see the potential for this technology and start investing in it.”

Azhar Hussain who is the founder of TTXGP motorcycle race, is quite enthusiastic about the team’s motorbike. He too wants to watch the motorbike in action when it would be racing against formidable competition from around the globe on one of the most challenging road race courses in the world. Azhar Hussain thinks that Kingston University team has done a great job and if everything goes right then the exposure for Kingston will be priceless.

  • John Boston

    Very cool, but let’s be careful calling it “zero emissions”. Running a battery powered vehicle simply transfers the bad effects of energy to the plants that produce the electricity to charge it. In my location, a lot of electricity comes from coal powered plants, which are big polluters.

    Hook one up to solar or wind power, and I’m on board with the concept. Not on board the motorcycle itself. Those things are death traps.

  • Greggory Lawson

    John Boston — they have this stuff called renewable energy… check out BetterPlace. They make electric cars all powered from renewable energy!

  • Charles Simpson

    If you think thats something, check this out, for all the people who want an electric bike that can actually do highway speeds. And John Boston; Bikes are only as dangerous as the riders, its your attitude thats the real death trap.

  • Kit Cheney

    Theres a basic misconception about greenness, if you run it on electricity , most likely it has worse pollution than gas powered , unless you are getting your electric charge from solar or wind. Plugging it in to the grid just means your polluting more, only farther away from where you are driving.

    Same to the comment enthusiastic about the ‘betterplace company’ for the same reason. more pollution , and benefiting corporations who will have us chained to them by selling us expensive electric cars and then selling us charge-up cards for replenishing the batteries They purposefully aren’t building the cars so you can charge them at home, you will depend on their supply at their price, and the end pollution will be higher than now, unless solar / wind will be used, which is not in their plans.

  • Dennis Tully

    Hmmm. I’m not sure about that. Another thought is that the cars WOULD be charging overnight in your garage and using “wasted” energy at little or no additional environmental impact than is currently coming out of the power plants. By “wasted” energy I’m talking about the fact that conventional power plants tend to produce a similar output day and night, since it can be difficult to move power generation on- and off-line. And since that is largely the case, the energy used to charge the cars would generate no additional pollution, and in fact would reduce it by the amount it would’ve generated using a gasoline engine.

  • Kit Cheney

    Ok, so we agree that the car wont be polluting less, probably more since the efficiency of converting energy to electricity is low so you need more energy than when using it directly in the car. If you are right about the energy produced at night and being dumped somehow for lack of users then , well it should be free , since it will reduce pollution if people use it instead of gas. I do doubt the rational you presented though I’m sure there’s some compensation that can be gained through it.

  • John Boston

    I have not heard of electricity produced at night being wasted. Generators simply run at lower capacity during off-peak hours.

    However, there is a push to increase electricity costs during the day, and decrease them at night. This would encourage people to use less during peak times.

    What it should also do is cause a run on batteries. If this rate change occurred, I would charge batteries all night and power my home with them during the day.

    This would also be great for the idea of charging vehicles at night. Again, though, I have never heard of a case in which electricity is being thrown away at off-peak times.

    Perhaps hydroelectric turbines are shut off, coal fired plants burn less coal, etc., but I don’t think anyone is discharging electricity into the environment as waste (if that’s even possible).

  • Nina Sesilia

    It’s a great idea… trial to reduce emissions and still can race on the street!:)

  • Hanley Gibbons

    Mr. Boston,

    In that sense you are correct, as of now, there are very few truly “zero emission” vehicles because most battery operated vehicles simply draw their power from fossil fuel burning plants. However, battery operated vehicles are still vastly superior in efficiency to their petrol using counterparts. Even when accounting for the increase in energy demand on the plants, electric modes of transportation only create 30% the amount of emissions as a standard petrol fueled vehicle.

  • Devlin

    The title does not match the article, which reads:

    “…the overall CO2 usage, including the carbon dioxide generated to charge the batteries, will be around 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a petrol or diesel-power bike.”

    This is clearly not a zero-emission vehicle, and the figure they give will vary depending on the electricity source. Most U.S. electricity comes from coal plants, the worst polluters on the planet.

    What’s more, the U.S. electrical grid is already being pushed to the brink. The grid would need to be dramatically enhanced and expanded to meet the increased demand of electric vehicles…even if the majority of charging was occurring at night.

    Anybody else want three times as many coal plants in this country? Didn’t think so.

    Want to stop global warming? Stop looking for ways to sustain the unsustainable.

    A zero-emission bike already exists, folks. It’s the one where your legs do the peddling!

  • Gary

    Reading the article I found the following:

    1. Students in college are concentrating on developing clean energy alternatives that are commecialy viable.
    2. A product that has reduced emissions, the product has zero emissions. Yes, depending on the power source there “could” be a shift of polution from one location to another.
    3. Battery technology that appears to have a higher efficiency of 90%
    4. The product appears to be fun and usable vs. boring and nerdy.
    5. No, the product is not perfect but if you have a negative view then I would ask what are you doing to make it better?

  • Zach Myrow

    Pretty cool. The whole Powercycle world is pretty amazing. Especially the potential to change our daily lives. In fact, it already is for a lucky few. Brammo Enertia is selling their powercycles… in Best Buy no less. I couldn’t think of a worse eco place to sell it (other than WalMart) but nevertheless, we have to start somewhere, right?

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