- Studio MOM and LAVO have come together to create a hydrogen-powered bike, designed to take advantage of the higher energy-to-weight ratio offered by hydrogen fuel cells.
- LAVO's hybrid hydrogen battery uses solar energy to extract hydrogen from water. This system was developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales.
- One of the biggest issues cited is its inefficiency. The process of producing green hydrogen has been found to be inefficient, due to the energy requirements of electrolysis.
The LAVO Bike is designed to take advantage of the higher energy-to-weight ratio offered by hydrogen fuel cells, compared with the lithium batteries typically used for e-bikes.
"This first hydrogen bike in the world makes transport over very long distances possible without heavy batteries, particulates or CO2 emissions," said Studio MOM.
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The design integrates LAVO's hybrid hydrogen battery, which uses solar energy to extract hydrogen from water.
The Australian company believes this system, which was developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales, is the first commercial use of this technology in the world.
Using energy germinated from photovoltaics, it employs a process of electrolysis to separate the oxygen and hydrogen found in the chemical-makeup of water. The hydrogen is then absorbed into a patented metal hydride, which converts it into battery power.
What's the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?
Moving to clean energy is key to combating climate change, yet in the past five years, the energy transition has stagnated.
Energy consumption and production contribute to two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the global energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago. Plus, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing. In 2018 energy intensity improved by 1.2%, the slowest rate since 2010.
Effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.
Benchmarking progress is essential to a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which ranks 115 economies on how well they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing energy transition is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters, including US, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries that score the highest in terms of readiness account for only 2.6% of global annual emissions.
To future-proof the global energy system, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials Platform is working on initiatives including, Systemic Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Energy and the Global Battery Alliance to encourage and enable innovative energy investments, technologies and solutions.
Additionally, the Mission Possible Platform (MPP) is working to assemble public and private partners to further the industry transition to set heavy industry and mobility sectors on the pathway towards net-zero emissions. MPP is an initiative created by the World Economic Forum and the Energy Transitions Commission.
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Studio MOM's design integrates this battery as part of a modular frame that slots together, "like Lego blocks".
"It's designed as a toolkit for a new emission-free mode of transport," said the studio. "Therefore, the concept is easily adapted from city bike to transport bike for small business use."
LAVO launched in 2020, with the ambition to provide cleaner and more reliable energy to homes and businesses.
Its system is based on the production of green hydrogen, a more sustainable alternative to blue or grey hydrogen as it doesn't use any fossil fuels in its production.
The brand claims that one LAVO unit can store up to 40kWh of hydrogen, which could power the average Australian home off-grid for up to two days.
The company approached Studio MOM to collaborate on a bicycle, as the Arnhem-based office has previously worked on designs for Dutch brands Gazelle and Cortina.
While LAVO had imagined a super lightweight design, the Studio MOM design team felt a cargo bike would be the best way to optimise the advantages offered by hydrogen power.
"Because long-range cargo solutions in particular require a lot of energy," said the studio. "Then an extra hydrogen tank of 1.2 kilograms is surely preferable to an extra battery that weighs six kilograms."
The design was developed in partnership with Elian Cycles, a manufacturer that specialises in cargo bikes.
The LAVO bike is not currently on the market, but could be available in the future. LAVO hopes to launch a range of lifestyle products that use its hybrid hydrogen battery, including a barbecue.
Not everyone is convinced by the viability of hydrogen batteries as a power source. Elon Musk described it as "mind-bogglingly stupid" in an interview in 2019.
One of the biggest issues cited is its inefficiency. The process of producing green hydrogen has been found to be inefficient, due to the energy requirements of electrolysis.
However investment in hydrogen is continuing to grow. The European Union has said it expects to spend €470 billion (£402 billion) on green hydrogen by 2050.