By Puneet Lakhi Via: tmworld
Ever wanted to build your very own motorcycle?
Alex Bell and Andres Pacheco, senior engineering students from Swarthmore College had the opportunity to do just that, thanks to funding by the college’s engineering department. Spurred by their interest in alternative energies and vehicle efficiency, they have been working on building from scratch a “proof of concept hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle,” for two years now.
“The goal of our project is to design and build a functional hydrogen fuel cell motorcycle and compare the efficiency data against battery and ICE motorcycles,” said Bell and Pacheco, in an article in Fuel Cell Today.
They have posted a rough draft of their “Fuel Cell Vehicle Engineering Report” on their website with their specific design decisions, vehicle components, and fuel cell vehicle efficiency comparisons.
Bell and Pacheco estimate that the motorcycle has an average efficiency of 50%. After averaging in losses in propulsion, total vehicle efficiency is expected to be 46%."
This number, which the two hope to increase to about 60% after further modifications and repairs, is very impressive, especially since, as you may know, traditional ICE engines only manage about half that.
While you won’t see any of these bikes rolling around your town in the near future, these young engineers certainly appear to have a great future ahead of them, and hope to present their final paper (upon approval) at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fuel Cell Science, Engineering, and Technology conference in June.
Hopefully, their research will contribute to greater awareness and progress in green engineering, and also inspire further interest in this area for budding mechanical engineers, and to show this new generation that engineering can be simultaneously immensely practical and “cool.”