SiGNa Chemistry Inc has created a fuel-cell powered electric bicycle that can travel up to 60 miles on a single charge. The kicker is that the system runs on water. The bike is a showcase for an alternative hydrogen fuel cell created by SiGNa. The cells use sodium silicide in the form of a sand-like powder. To put it very simply, when water is added to this sodium silicide powder, hydrogen gas is created instantly. Hydrogen gas is the actual fuel for any hydrogen device and used by the cells to generate electricity. It is actually an amazingly simple process. Hydrogen capture and storage is what has prevented this alternative energy from gaining any popularity over the combustion engine. In this case, because no hydrogen is stored in solid or gas form, the cells are safe. Any excess electricity produced by the system is stored in batteries to be used in that always needed extra boost when you try to ride a hill.
For ease of use, the powder cartridges are hot-swappable and are fully recyclable. This cartridge system has the advantage that users don’t have to stop and refuel. The catridges also have a weight advantage; they are much lighter than the conparable battery. On the other hand, the infastrucure needed for such a system to be used in a car would be enormous. That isn’t an argument against hydrogen fuel cells, but a note of practicality that will continue to deter its use in transportation.
In all, it would be pretty cool to fill up my water bottle so that I have enough fuel to ride my bike home.