Hy-Cycle, the First Fuel Cell Electric Bicycle

3University of New South Wales researchers have built an Australian-first bicycle that can take riders 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 School of Chemical Engineering, 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. This could make the Hy-Cycle a low-cost, sustainable transport option. Hydrogen for the Hy-Cycle is carried in a 2.5-kilogram canister that sits adjacent to the pedals. The canister feeds the fuel cell, which is located under the seat and continuously recharges a Lithium-ion battery. A standard metal hydride inside the canister enables safe, user-friendly storage of the hydrogen. One kilogram of the standard metal hydride is capable of storing 100 litres of hydrogen, but Aguey-Zinsou and colleagues at the Material Energy Research Laboratory in nanoscale (MERLin) at UNSW are now developing borohydrides that could store the same amount of hydrogen using just 50 grams of storage material.

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