Zinc Air Fuel Cell Drive Passenger Car

=== Dec. 2002 ===

Source from: Science and Technology Daily
Reporter: Chuanhong Yin

Beijing, China - The Beijing International Electric Vehicle Exhibition kicks off on December 5, 2002. The world¡¯s first zinc-air fuel cell powered passenger car introduced by Powerzinc and Zhejiang University draw the crowds in this exhibition. This retrofitted Ford passenger car does not have what we normally see on any gasoline-powered vehicles: engine, cylinders, transmission, muffler and other components. Instead, we find an electric drive system, controller and a stack of zinc-air (metal) fuel cells.

This vehicle is jointly developed and demonstrated by Powerzinc Electric, Inc. and Zhejiang University¡¯s National Research Center for Applied Power Electronic Technology (NRC-APE).

¡°The driver of this vehicle should really pay extra attention to the pedestrian as it does not generate any noise and emission. You can hardly notice when it drives by you¡± Mr. Richard Yang, Chief Executive Officer of Powerzinc, told press. ¡°The world will benefit from the clean energy. Any city or region that utilizes this technology should bring a lot of the attention from the world as well as business opportunities.¡±

Since World War II, electric vehicles have been developed for over 60 years. According to Professor Chen, Li-Ming, the Assistant Department Chair of Zhejiang University¡¯s EV department, among EV¡¯s 4 major component development, vehicle construction, controller and generator are no longer problems. Battery, however, is the only bottleneck in technology development. The industry is currently offering 3 types of solutions: conventional battery (lead-acid, NiMH, and Lithium batteries); hybrid; and hydrogen, aluminum-air, and zinc-air fuel cells). So far zinc-air represents the best performing and most practical fuel cell technology in the market and there is no company in the world other than Powerzinc that is capable of generating power in a high level.

The cost per kWh of zinc-air is similar to that of lead-acid. It causes no pollution during manufacturing, usage, and regeneration process. It can be regenerated through a fairly easy process and almost 100% recoverable. China has the largest zinc resource in the world. It is an ideal market for commercialization of the technology.

¡°If the technology is optimized with this vehicle, we can definitely push the driving range per charge to 300 km, which is the average distance of a taxi in a big city would run in a day¡±, said Professor Chen, ¡°the zinc-air fuel cells supplied and installed on this vehicle by Powerzinc were originally designed for electric scooters and electric bicycles. If the government could allocate certain amount of budget to form some kind of collaboration that would allow Powerzinc to optimize fuel cell output and Zhejiang University to improve controls, we should be able to supply the most competitive, non-polluted, fuel cell buses for Beijing¡¯s 2008 Olympic Games.¡±

Professor Chen believes that the mass production of EVs can take place in China. The EV development also offers a perfect chance for China¡¯s auto industry to catch up with the world. It is expected that the world petroleum reserve could only last for 50 more years. The development of alternative fuel has become an urgent task for every country.

The success of zinc-air fuel cell does not necessary mean it would immediately replace gasoline as fuel source. Mr. Richard Yang of Powerzinc emphasized that once zinc air fuel cell products launched in the market successfully, it will not only significantly lower the emission pollution, but also provide an optional fuel source for vehicles in the future.


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