Many experts believe that hydrogen is a far underutilized fuel source in a world where oil and coal are becoming scarcer. After all, there’s a lot of hydrogen floating around our planet. The challenge is harnessing it, as it’s not as simple as drilling a well or mining it like we would for oil and coal.
The thing is, hydrogen doesn’t act so much as a fuel as it does a battery. The explanation for this concept has to do with the electrolysis of water, but that’s a subject for a different article. What’s relevant is that we could potentially use that process to create a renewable energy source that could eventually result in hydrogen “stations,” where electric cars could fill hydrogen batteries and potentially change the transportation world as we know it.
The concept is already be applied to bicycles, where fuel cells containing hydrogen are mixed with water and air can be recharged. Recently, Pragma Industries has built a hydrogen fuel cell electric bike that’s capable of some pretty long distance travel and is able to be refueled quickly. The integrated fuel cell technology allows the Pragma e-bike to travel up to 60 miles on a single charge, a feat that could prove useful when deployed for fleet or commercial use. The fuel cell consists of a 2-liter cylinder that holds compressed hydrogen gas, and it can be refilled in 2 minutes at a filling station. To put it in perspective, a conventional e-bike–with no hydrogen cell–takes several hours to recharge.
Traditional electric bikes tend to have decreased performance in colder weather, but the Pragma Industries hydrogen model doesn’t suffer from this same downfall. The range and performance will remain constant.
For now, it seems that the Pragma bike isn’t necessarily aimed at the individual consumer. It’s really being marketed for more of a fleet use, with applications like tourism rental, corporate staff mobility, delivery services and public service.
While we’re still likely a good way from mass-produced hydrogen cell cars, the Pragma Industries bike is an excellent first step in producing greener transportation options.