MIT Electric Vehicle Team building hydrogen-powered bike

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The Electric Vehicle Team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has built a hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motorcycle.

Photo: Adam Glanzman

The US university’s Electric Vehicle Team is testing out new hydrogen-based transportation by building a hydrogen-powered electric motorcycle.

The motorcycle underwent its first full test-track demonstration back in October.

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The team has designed the motorcycle as an open-source platform, with plans made freely available online.

Graduate student Aditya Mehrotra is spearheading the project with MIT mechanical engineering professor Alex Slocum. The team consists of around a dozen students.

Mehrotra decided to combine his study of energy systems with his love of motorcycles. He said, “we came up with the idea of a hydrogen-powered bike. We did an evaluation study, and we thought that this could actually work. We [decided to] try to build it.”

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Work began on building the prototype back in January 2023, and by October they were ready to present the bike at the Hydrogen Americas Summit.

In May, the team will present the bike at the World Hydrogen Summit in the Netherlands.

The project has been supported by industry sponsors who have donated different components, such South Korean company Doosan, who provided the fuel cell.

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While battery-powered vehicles have their advantages, they are still subject to limitations, including range, recharge time, and environmental issues surrounding the mining of lithium. The MIT team wanted to explore how hydrogen-powered vehicles could provide an alternative.

The team explain how the whole thing works in this YouTube video, uploaded to the MIT account:

Mehrotra said: “We’re hoping to use this project as a chance to start conversations around ‘small hydrogen’ systems that could increase demand, which could lead to the development of more infrastructure. We hope the project can help find new and creative applications for hydrogen.”

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The team are also working toward publishing papers in academic journals describing their project and lessons learned from it, in hopes of making “an impact on the energy industry.”


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