SiGNa’s fuel-cell powered electric bike will run for 60 miles on a single charge. More impressive is that it runs on water.
The bike itself is really just a showcase for the fuel-cell tech from
the energy company. The cells uses sodium silicide in the form of a
sand-like powder. Add this to water and it “instantly creates hydrogen
gas.” This hydrogen is then used to generate electricity. Because no
hydrogen is stored, the cells are safe, and excess electricity is stored
in batteries for an extra boost when you get to a hill. The cartridges
are hot-swappable and are fully recyclable.
The main advantage (apart from the safety aspect) is that you can
just swap-in a new cartridge when you need it, instead of having to stop
to recharge (the units weigh around 1.5-pounds each, less than most
batteries). You also get better range: a battery-powered bike typically
gets 20 to 30-miles on a charge. The downside is infrastructure: you can
find a power-outlet pretty much anywhere in the world. Try finding a
compatible fuel-cell in a backwater general-store.
The current units can be designed to put out anything from 1-Watt to
1-Kilowatt. Their futire is probably not in electric bikes but in bigger
transportation. Imagine driving your car into the gas-station, popping
the hood and swapping in a fuel-cell, just Like Doc Brown drops a tube
of plutonium into his time-traveling DeLorean.
Pre-orders for the cells are being taken by SiGNa. For a bike, you’ll
probably have a long wait. Full, technical press release below. Produce High-Pressure Hydrogen From Water [SiGNa. Thanks, Mike!]
SiGNa Unveils The Most Energy Dense Power Solution For
Electric Bicycles Power system produces clean, safe and portable
hydrogen power – zero air pollution
NEW YORK – October 5, 2010 — The race to create a hydrogen-based
portable power platform sped forward when SiGNa Chemistry, Inc.
demonstrated its new ultra-high-performance range extender at the
Interbike International Trade Expo. This ground-breaking power platform
produces hydrogen gas instantaneously and then converts the hydrogen to
electricity using a low-cost fuel cell. The extender creates up to 200W
of continuous power; excess energy is stored in a lithium battery for
use in more energy-intensive acceleration and hill climbing conditions. A
unique attribute is the high level of inherent safety as demonstrated
by 3 days of continuous operation at Interbike. The hydrogen is produced
at low pressure (50% the pressure of a soda can) and the only emission
is water vapor.
For the rider, the extender triples the range of their e-bike with
minimal additional weight. Existing e-bikes have a range of up to 20
miles without pedaling; SiGNa’s system reaches up to 60 miles without
pedaling for each carried fuel cartridge. The energy density of each
SiGNa cartridge is more than 1,000 Watt-hours/kilogram compared to
advanced Li-ion batteries at approximately 65 Watt-hours/kilogram. The
fuel cartridges are hot-swappable, lightweight (< 1.5 pounds) and
inexpensive, making this a realistic solution for any e-bike owner.
“The extender uses inherently-safe reactive metal powders to produce
electric power. By integrating SiGNa’s hydrogen-generation technology
with an e-bike, we have demonstrated an unprecedented power solution
with no greenhouse gas emissions,” says Michael Lefenfeld, President and
CEO of SiGNa Chemistry, Inc. SiGNa’s range extender was demonstrated on
a Pedego® electric bicycle, but it is directly compatible with most
electric bicycle models.
Sodium silicide makes this portable power system possible. Sodium
silicide is a safe, air-stable reactive metal powder that instantly
creates hydrogen gas when it comes into contact with water. Any type of
water can be used including potable water, polluted water, sea water, or
even urine. Once the fuel cartridge is depleted, the rider is left with
an environmentally-safe byproduct (sodium silicate) that is fully
contained in a disposable or reusable cartridge.
SiGNa has adapted its award-winning powders for use in many
industrial applications including pharmaceuticals and oil refining.
Since sodium silicide is safe, inexpensive and easily transportable, the
portable power market is a natural fit. Says Lefenfeld, “SiGNa’s
portable-power system overcomes two key challenges with using hydrogen
for transportation applications – adequate hydrogen storage and safe
transport. SiGNa has begun by developing a system that provides power to
e-bikes; we envision this platform will become a primary or back up
power source for many transportation applications.”
SiGNa’s portable power platform can be utilized in any standalone
application that require from 1 W to 1 kW of power including generators,
lawn mowers, golf carts, and consumer electronics.
Pre-orders are being taken now at firstname.lastname@example.org.