As countries move to enact stricter emissions regulations to combat climate change, the automotive industry has zeroed in on battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell powertrains. But an Australian-Israeli startup company has revealed a potentially revolutionary new fuel.
The company, called Electriq Global, revealed its liquid-based Electriq-Fuel at the Smart Mobility Summit in Tel-Aviv last month. The fuel system is made up of three elements: the liquid fuel (made of 60 percent water), a catalyst that releases hydrogen, and a recycling system to replenish the hydrogen. It’s unclear what actually powers the vehicle, but a hydrogen fuel cell appears likely, noting the fuel releases hydrogen “on-demand,” according to the company.
The water-infused fuel is totally recyclable, Electriq Global said and it’s safer to store and stable in ambient temperatures and pressures.
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The company also said its fuel provides greater range than a lithium-ion battery or compressed hydrogen fuel — double the range at half of the cost, specifically. When compared to a Tesla battery, the water-based fuel had an energy density 15 times greater. Additional studies the company conducted showed a transport bus covered 621 miles on a single tank compared to an electric bus’ 155-mile range. Unlike plug-in vehicles, filling the tank with Electriq Fuel takes five minutes. Fast-charging systems are only now closing in on charging times of about 20 minutes, and most of the technology is reserved for premium vehicles.
The fuel isn’t a distant pipe-dream, either. The company plans to commission its first fuel recycling plant in Israel next year. In April 2019, it plans for samples of its next-generation of the fuel. Total commercialization of the fuel has a targeted 2022 release date, likely at a small scale in either Israel of Australia. Until then, the company wants to increase production of its Electriq trucks with manufacturing partners and continue demonstrations to prove the recyclable, water-based fuel is the future.