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New 'wonder fuel' promises twice the range of gasoline, with zero tailpipe emissions

05/12/2018
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A general rule of thumb in engineering circles is ‘if something seems too good to be true, it’s too good to be true’. That would seem to be the case with a new water-stabilised hydrogen fuel technology that’s recently been unveiled by Israeli-Australian company Electriq-Global.
The main elements of the Electriq-Global fuelling system.
(The main elements of the Electriq-Global fuelling system. Image via Electriq-Global).

The company claims to have invented a new technology that stabilises hydrogen in a recyclable liquid that can be pumped and transported just like gasoline. The headline benefits of the technology include; twice the range, half the price, zero emissions (compared to traditional gasoline).
Among the bold claims made by Electriq-Global is that their fuel is half the price of traditional gasoline.
(Among the bold claims made by Electriq-Global is that their fuel is half the price of traditional gasoline. Image via Electriq-Global).

If the tech is as good as the company says it would be a massive breakthrough as it would enable long-range electric driving with fast refuelling, all within society’s existing fuel logistics model. It would solve the problems with current gasoline alternatives such as electric batteries- which are heavy, struggle with the heat, and can take too long to charge, or hydrogen fuel cells- which are energy-inefficient and which pose an explosion risk in the event of a traffic accident.

In short, Electriq Global’s new fuel appears to combine the best aspects of gasoline, hydrogen and batteries into a cheap, green and recyclable liquid which could be the transport fuel of the future.
Electriq-Global's new fuel tech appears to offer substantial improvements in range compared to other fuel sources.
(Electriq-Global’s new fuel tech appears to offer substantial improvements on range compared to other fuel sources. Image via Electriq-Global).

So how does it work?

Much like a standard car, an Electriq-fuelled car is fitted with a standard sized fuel tank which can be filled as normal. Once the tank is filled and the car is started a separate model called the ‘Switch’ activates which releases small amounts of a catalysing chemical into the fuel tank which releases the hydrogen from the fuel (the Electriq-fuel is composed of about three percent hydrogen and 97 percent supporting material).

Once the hydrogen has been released from the fuel, it’s sent to the car’s onboard fuel cell where it is converted into electric energy, which is then used to power the car’s electric powertrain.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Unlike other transport fuels though, the Electriq-fuel has an unusual feature.

Once enough of the catalyst has been released by the ‘Switch’ system to release all of the hydrogen, it’s time to refill the tank- however, the 97 percent supporting material remains in the tank, and can be recycled. 

Therefore, refilling your Electriq car is a two-stage process, in which your spent fuel is pumped out (largely composed of the 97 percent supporting material) and fresh fuel (complete with the three percent hydrogen) is pumped in.

Electric-Global’s technology mirrors the current ‘well-to-wheel’ refuelling ecosystem, meaning its global rollout would require very little specialised infrastructure (unlike battery and compressed hydrogen technologies). Ultimately, the company hopes that fuel companies will sign up as partners, offering Electriq-Fuel at your local gas station.

The diagram below shows how this process would work throughout the fuel supply chain (and how this compares to the current fossil fuel system):
A side-by-side comparison of Electriq-Global's fuel supply chain compared to fossil fuel's supply chain.
(Image via Electriq-Global).

So, is this revolutionary new fuel too good to be true? 

Certainly, further research needs to be carried out regarding the well-to-wheels efficiency of the fuel, the energy return on energy investment (ERoEI) in the production of the fuel, and ability to roll-out an effective distribution and retail business model, and much more. But, with the race on to find a viable alternative to fossil fuels for transportation purposes, Electriq-Global’s new fuel solution looks like the most promising answer yet…

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Recent Comments
Look at #3. I just HATE to be sitting on a FUEL CELL or Li-ION Battery, next to 350 V motor frying the family-diamonds. NO THANKS, I will always drive a GASOLINE engined car, rest of my life. Exhaust pollution?? Just look at China + India's COAL.. Then we talk. PS. Global warming is for *birds* as a hoax. Andre, MS, PE.
ANDRE GURSES, 05 December 2018
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New 'wonder fuel' promises twice the range of gasoline, with zero tailpipe emissions - Time to read 4 min
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