An electric bicycle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has been unveiled by technology company The Linde Group.
Traditional e-bikes are powered by a battery that pushes a motor to assist the rider in hilly areas or strong headwinds. The hydrogen bike instead uses a compact fuel cell that generates electricity from hydrogen together with oxygen taken from the surrounding air.
The bike is touted as highly efficient with a ‘zero-emissions drive system’ that can support assisted pedalling over a range in excess of 100 kilometres with a single, 34-gram cylinder of hydrogen.
The system has been designed to be easily re-fuelled, a process that takes less than six minutes.
Linde says it has set up approximately 100 hydrogen fuelling stations in 15 countries and has completed more than one million refuelling operations at these stations.
"Linde is also pushing new and unconventional ideas to contribute to the widespread commercialisation of hydrogen as a clean technology," commented Dr Wolfgang Buechele, Linde CEO.
"With the Linde H2 bike, we have shown that the benefits of hydrogen drives are not restricted to cars - bikes are another interesting application."
Buechele delivered one of the first models of the new bike to German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt (pictured).
The bike reportedly took Linde engineers less than three months to develop from the initial idea to a functioning prototype.
Similar to hydrogen-powered cars, fuel-cell bikes have the advantage of a long range and a short refuelling window of just a few minutes while eliminating the need for traction batteries, which come with a limited lifespan and are difficult to dispose of.
Toyota recently announced it is to deliver 12 Mirai hydrogen-powered cars to London, where four will be used by Transport for London to assist with engineering and maintenance work carried out between bus stops and Tube stations.