They design a motorcycle powered by hydrogen and ethanol from nature

Isbel Lázaro.


Inspenet, December 23, 2023.

An engineer of Indian descent named Vikrant Subhash Pawar has created a motorcycle that uses a combination of hydrogen and ethanol as an energy source. This innovative project has been chosen to compete in the outstanding James Dyson Award competition .

The motorcycle designed by Pawar not only aims to significantly reduce polluting gas emissions, but also aspires to offer a sustainable and effective alternative compared to more conventional fossil fuels.

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How does the motorcycle work?

The motorcycle uses a fuel composed of hydrogen and ethanol , the latter obtained from the fermentation of sugar cane juice. Hydrogen, on the other hand, is produced through the electrolysis of water using “0-TDS” water and potassium hydroxide as electrolytes, a process that involves the separation of oxygen and hydrogen atoms using electrical current.

With a maximum speed that ranges between 70 and 75 km/h, this vehicle has the capacity to travel between 50 and 55 km per liter of fuel. Its development has required two years of work and has culminated in a design that stands out not only for its efficiency in terms of consumption, but also for its commitment to sustainability.

It should be noted that Pawar has introduced specific adjustments to the engine and carburetor to adapt them to this innovative type of fuel. The bike uses a 100 cm³ four-stroke internal combustion engine and a specialized carburetor designed to handle ethanol. After starting on ethanol, an alternator generates 12V 3A electricity, necessary to produce hydrogen gas that combines with ethanol in the combustion chamber. The mixture has a calorific value of 34.78 kJ/g, and for its construction, Pawar has used 316L stainless steel plates.

Fuel based on hydrogen and ethanol

Unlike gasoline, this hydrogen-ethanol fuel is less harmful to the environment. Ethanol, derived from plant sources, is considered a renewable source. Its manufacture involves processes such as grinding and filtering sugar cane to obtain juice, followed by a series of fermentation and distillation stages that concentrate ethanol to more than 95%, starting from a solution that contains between 10 and 15 % of this compound.

Before being used, ethanol goes through tests that guarantee a purity of 99.98%. As for hydrogen, its production is carried out without depending on external energy sources, beyond the water used in the process.

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