Hydrogen bikes: what are they and the main advantages compared to e-bikes

Elizabeth Smith

There was a moment, years ago, when the world of sustainable mobility was actually balanced between two technologies. On the one hand the battery electric motor, on the other the hydrogen engine. For the most diverse reasons, the choice fell, in almost all cases, towards the electric motor.

On four wheels as well as two wheels, from small cars to sedans, from bicycles to scooters, today’s sustainable mobility is battery-powered. And that would seem to be the case tomorrow too. But this does not mean that we have completely stopped investing in green hydrogen.

Hydrogen bikes: what are the advantages compared to e-bikes?

Electric bicycles are very widespread, and today they represent normality. So why are there those who invest in hydrogen bikes, when e-bikes seem to satisfy the needs of many cyclists? Hydrogen actually has some concrete advantages.

First of all, the technology that uses this fuel allows you to “fill up” very quickly, which cannot be said for electric recharges.

Secondly, hydrogen engines boast a total absence of carbon dioxide emissions, in the case of sustainably produced hydrogen. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that hydrogen engines can do without lithium batteries, thus freeing the entire planet from the need to use this material and many other rare earths.

However, the many obstacles that have held back hydrogen to date remain on the table. The production of this fuel, in order for it to be convenient, must be at the same time sustainable, effective and economically sustainable, which so far is anything but a given.

How hydrogen engine bicycles work

For low-consumption engines with limited autonomy, however, hydrogen may already be a viable option today. And it is precisely from this assumption that interest in hydrogen bikes is growing. To understand how a bicycle of this type works, it is best to think of a “normal” e-bike.

Instead of the lithium battery, however, we must imagine a small tank, a “water bottle” to be filled with hydrogen. In this case, filling up can be done at special service stations or even at home, thanks to home systems for hydrogen production.

Futuristic fantasies? Absolutely not: hydrogen bikes with a home system for DIY hydrogen production are already a reality.

Bikes with hydrogen engines: some examples

An 18 kilogram device, with a 40 liter tank, which allows you to produce liquid hydrogen at home from solar energy. This is the do-it-yourself hydrogen system produced and sold by the Chinese Youon, sold together with city bikes.

Thus, 10 seconds are enough to refuel the hydrogen bike, to have a bicycle with a range of up to 60 kilometers and a maximum speed of 23 kilometers per hour.

It should be emphasized that hydrogen bicycles do not only come from China. For example, there are bikes with a hydrogen engine from the French company Alpha Neo, which can only be recharged at the appropriate stations.

Or for example the bikes of the German company Linde, to be recharged at the appropriate public charging stations, which produce clean hydrogen thanks to wind energy or biogas.

Read also: Electric cars or hydrogen cars: which is more sustainable?

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