College Students Build Hydrogen Fuel Cell-powered Motorcycle

February 3, 2009 / 2 Comments

It is no new fact that hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles are the future for automobile industry as they are both an economical and ecologically the smart option. With crude oil becoming an absolute premium with each passing day, fuel cells are becoming more of a reality.

With that in mind, Alex Bell and Andres Pacheco – engineering students at Swarthmore College, ventured into creating something that could soon become the future for bikes. It’s a fuel cell powered motorcycle that uses hydrogen.

hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle c2301 College Students Build Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered Motorcycle

First of its kind, the model is a basic structure that uses hydrogen and reactive metals as fuel. Hydrogen is stored at low pressure in two tanks along with reactive metals like Nickel which form hydrides that can be tapped into for power. The initial metal hydride cylinders each hold 900 std. liters of hydrogen, but that could also go up with further research.

hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle c2302 College Students Build Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered Motorcycle

With a salvaged Buell cyclone chassis and fitted with a new fuel cell made by Ballard, the bike has an efficiency of mere 46% and is still plagued with a few transmission problems.

Coming from college students, it’s a little step forward in the field of alternate fuels for automobiles that shows what researchers are capable of if they channel resources in the right direction. [via TreeHugger]