Small, Mobile, Fuel-Cell Powered, but no cars yet!

October 26 2008 / by jvarden
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 3

By Jenna Varden

While most may think of fuel-cells as only able to power cars and other vehicles, they can also be used in smaller devices like lawnmower, vacuums and golf carts. Here are a few notable applications:

In Japan, fuel-cell powered wheel-chairs, electric carts, and electric assisted bicycles made by Kurimoto Ltd. could have a hopeful future, as more than 20% of Japan’s population is currently over the age of 65. These streamlined wheel-chairs have a max speed of about 3.7 mph, and drive for either five or ten hours for 37 or 18.6 miles, depending on the density of H2 in the storage canisters.

Princeton University’s 2007 research in fuel cell output and hydrogen regulation. “The secret of their success is a system in which the fuel input itself changes the size of the reaction chamber, and therefore the amount of power produced” (Source). They plan to use their new discoveries in lawn mowers, due to the ease of the cells incorporation, as well as the large reduction in greenhouse gasses that the fuel cells would cause.

At the Center of Renewable Energy Sources in Athens, Greece, the H2 Technologies & Renewable Energy Sources Department displayed the first fuel cell powered scooter. The scooter’s electric motor, with a range of approximately 90 miles, is powered by a 500 W fuel cell system, which charges the battery bank. Removable, the fuel cell system can also be used as a portable electricity generator. “While fuel cell cars lack infrastructure right now for long road trips, hydrogen scooters make sense for those wanting to travel cleanly and greenly within relatively small localized areas” (Source

Image: [Frankie Roberto] Flickr CC

Comment Thread (0 Responses)