Tecnalia Technology Corp. (Basque Country, Spain) has unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell prototype car, known as H2CAR. The Tecnalia ecological car project was developed to demonstrate not only the viability of fuel cell vehicles but hydrogen as a storage medium for renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and wave power.
H2CAR is driven by an electric motor which is silent and high-performing. The electricity needed is generated from hydrogen stored in standard 200 bars-pressurised bottles, by means of a 5kW PEM fuel cell.
Moreover, the vehicle is equipped with state-of-the-art backup battery systems which enable the supply of the energy peaks necessary during acceleration and enhances the autonomy of the vehicle. The batteries enable ultra-rapid charging, whereby the user can charge up the car at any 220 V socket in a matter of minutes. The combination of rapid-charging plug-in hybrid technologies and hydrogen fuel cell technologies make this one of the most flexible FCV’s to come along in recent years.
“We have, thus, a 100% electric vehicle but which is mixed (battery-hydrogen) with regard to ‘filling up with energy’, providing great flexibility in its use”, stated Mr Luis Pedrosa, Director of the Energy Unit at Tecnalia.
As regards cost per mile, Mr Pedrosa underlined that “filling the tank, understanding this as the recharging of the vehicle’s batteries, costs between 6 and 8 times less than a petrol-driven engine with the same autonomy”.
H2CAR only emits water vapor. The emissions are produced in the power stations generating the electricity used for recharging or for producing hydrogen. “With the current mix of energy production we can say that emissions are reduced 80 % at least”, added Mr Pedrosa.
Besides hydrogen-powered car, Tecnalia is also involved in the Hidrotec project, which uses wind and solar power to produce hydrogen cleanly. A third line of research in renewable energy was recently launched by Tecnalia through its alliance with Iberdrola and its equity investment arm, Perseo, in the Oceantec initiative ($7.1 milllion investment). Its goal is developing a wave energy device with high performance and competitive cost.