While bicycles and pedal powered rickshaws, which are a common sight in some parts of South East Asia, are some of the greenest ways to commute, pedaling day in and day out is definitely a tad difficult for the rickshaw puller. With innovations in electric motor technology, research groups have been able to provide electric engines to rickshaws, easing the task for the rickshaw puller. However, like most electric engines, electric rickshaws too run on batteries, which take hours to recharge.
Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, have joined forces to develop the Hydrogenia – a hybrid pedal/fuel cell powered rickshaw. The Hydrogenia is a four wheeled rickshaw and is propelled by a 250W fuel cell, which sources energy from a hydrogen tank located behind the seat. A full tank of hydrogen is slated to give the rickshaw an electric range of 124 miles and just like the high-end hydrogen fuel cell powered cars, the tank of this rickshaw can be refueled in minutes.
If the hydrogen fuel cell depletes before the commuters have finished their journey, the rickshaw puller can still help them reach their destination by using the conventional pedals included in the Hydrogenia. Though the technology isn’t ready for commercial use, the Hydrogenia definitely is a greener way to travel and would be readily adopted in areas with dedicated hydrogen refueling stations.
All Images courtesy: Fraunhofer IFAM
Via: Fuel Cell Today