Companies in the United States and Italy are working together to develop a bicycle that is powered by a fuel cell.
NEW YORK, New York – Manhattan Scientifics has signed an agreement with Aprilia, S.p.A. to develop the Hydrocycle(TM) concept that was unveiled earlier this month at the Motor Show in Bologna, Italy. Aprilia is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of motor scooters and motorcycles, and is globally known for its racing achievements. Aprilia will use the fuel cell technology developed by Manhattan Scientifics’ European affiliate NovArs GmbH because of its significant weight and size advantages over other fuel cell technologies. The technology is ideal for supplying energy to electric drive systems in lightweight vehicles such as bicycles. “This is another step forward in bringing our fuel cell technology to market. Aprilia is one of Europe’s leading and most respected companies in the motor scooter and motorcycle industry,” says Manhattan Scientifics COO Jack Harrod. “They are an excellent partner to jointly develop a concept fuel cell bicycle and help us take the first serious steps to commercialization.” The concept vehicle is similar to the Hydrocycle unveiled by Manhattan Scientifics earlier this year, and is based on an existing Aprilia electric bicycle and motor. Aprilia replaced its Ni-MeH battery system with the Manhattan Scientifics’ power system consisting of NovArs’ fuel cell, fuel source, pressure reducer and control electronics. Aprilia also modified the mechanical styling features to accommodate the fuel cell system, which uses hydrogen supplied from a two liter pressurized tank to provide 670 watts of power to the bicycle drive motor at ambient pressure. This is sufficient to give it a range of up to 100 km with one filling. Refilling takes only seconds, compared with hours to recharge a battery, and this approach provides a significant reduction in the weight of the bicycle and in the operational range now provided by batteries. It also potentially lowers the cost of the system. “During our first three years in business, we have been acquiring technology, patenting, perfecting, prototyping and demonstrating unique technologies in alternative energy,” explains Manhattan Scientifics CEO Marvin Maslow. “From personal communications devices such as cellular phones, laptops and PDA’s to personal transportation including bicycles, scooters, golf carts, small boats and household devices including power tools, we intend to team with large manufacturers and distributors to bring remarkable new products to the market.” The mid range fuel cell technology generates between 2 and 2,000 watts, and is under development by NovArs at its facility in Passau, Germany. The fuel cell design uses advanced composite materials and sealing technology to minimize size and weight, which makes it ideal as a power source for portable electronic equipment. NovArs was founded in 1998 to develop advanced fuel cells, materials and concepts. Manhattan Scientifics acquired its intellectual property rights last year, and is funding additional research. In addition to development in alternative energy, Manhattan Scientifics also works in holographic data storage, water and gas filtration and computer and Internet enhancements. It laboratories are located in Los Alamos and Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as Passau.