The idea of hydrogen fuel cells as a clean energy source for passenger vehicles is certainly nothing new. Despite a lot of noise on it in the past though, it largely remains a lingering question of when. Until that question is answered on a large scale by auto manufacturers, we continue to watch developments instead on the research front – such as this cool fuel cell powered rickshaw in Germany.
Yes, you read that right, a hydrogen fuel cell powered rickshaw in Germany. Researchers there from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Dresden and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, according to Fuel Cell Today, recently unveiled this interesting green technology example for the first time.
Dubbed the Hydrogenia by those who created it, this four wheeled rickshaw is propelled by a 250 watt fuel cell and hydrogen tank said to be “installed behind the seat.” Dr. Lars Röntzsch, one of those behind this vehicle, said that such fuel cells “could be a good alternative compared to electric-drive bicycles and could be widely used today” as a replacement.
In terms of what advantages such hydrogen technology offers over the regular electric bike alternative, there are several to consider. It is generally a cleaner fuel source compared to electricity from the grid that would power a lithium battery pack and could also offer likely longer range, which in this rickshaw’s case is said to be 124 miles. That certainly beats pedaling one of these all day.
Röntzsch also said a fuel cell powered rickshaw with an electric motor could refuel more quickly than charging an all-electric option like one does with traditional electric vehicles.
Before one starts wondering though when these hydrogen rickshaws will be roaming German city streets, researchers note this technology won’t be ready for prime time for a bit. Until it is, if you want a ride on a rickshaw powered by clean energy, you can always try either solar energy in India or poo power in Denver.