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Your Next Car Fuel: Water, Not Gas?

Image credit: Cleantech Concepts

H2O in place of gas sounds pretty alluring. It also sounds pretty far out there. But given that we here at Cleantech Concepts have seen a lot of work on hydrogen production through water (electrolysis) in the labs, it’s less controversial than cold fusion. And this company is promising the fuel will be open source.

Israeli-Australian startup Electriq~Global (formerly known as Terragenic) has developed a fuel that it says will provide safe, inexpensive and clean driving. Comprised of 60% water, their revolutionary technology extracts hydrogen from liquid fuel which is harnessed to create electricity to power the vehicle.

The Electriq~Global system contains three key elements: the liquid fuel (Electriq~Fuel) which reacts with a catalyst (Electriq~Switch) to release hydrogen on demand, then the exhausted fuel is captured and taken back to an Electriq~Recycling plant where it is replenished with hydrogen for re-use. This entire process is inherently safe and releases zero emissions.

According to a Forbes piece, the company is backed by high net worth investors, many of whom are from the oil and gas and automotive industry. The group includes investors from the European Union, the United States, Australia and Israel.

The company’s CEO Guy Michrowski said that “the claims are based on experimental results and prototype testing that are shared with customers on a confidential basis. Those back the claims by actual performance rather than studies.

Electriq~Global’s technology mirrors its current ‘well-to-wheel’ refueling ecosystem, which means that — unlike battery and compressed hydrogen technologies — a global rollout would require little specialized infrastructure. The company envisions that as the technology is adopted, fuel companies themselves would become partners in the open source, zero emission fuel. The goal is to have Electriq~Fuel available at your local gas station.

The water-based liquid fuel is stable at ambient temperatures and pressures. When compared to green energy competitors like lithium-ion batteries or compressed hydrogen technologies, Electriq~ achieves twice the range at half the cost.

A comparison of electric buses showed the buses powered by batteries provided a range of 250km and required up to 300 minutes to recharge, whereas buses powered by Electriq~Fuel achieved a range of 1,100km and could be refueled in 5 minutes.

Michrowski said “Our technology brings dramatic news of improvement in driving range, refueling time, and cost of fuel and changes the rules of the game in many fields, including transportation and energy storage”.

The open-source Electriq~Fuel is 60% water, liquid-stable at ambient pressure and temperature, and requires very little specialized infrastructure to roll out globally. While the changes to existing vehicles are minor (see the diagram), the results being touted include twice the range, half the price, and zero emissions.

The company says that any product that runs on petrol, gas or diesel can easily be converted to support its zero emissions fuel. The company has a two-pronged mission, to apply for and develop projects in the fuel supply chain, including hydrogen supply, recycling plants, fuel logistics, petrol stations, and to create a funnel of application projects from cars, to trucks, home appliances, power storage, and public transport.

As for the future Michrowski says, “We have started constructing our first recycling pilot plant in Israel, and will start building couple more in Europe, China and later in the USA. Those will support prototype vehicles and other applications such as generators testing and promotion.”

The company has received enough private and public support (including the U.S. Department of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of Energy) that Electriq plans to complete its first commercial plants in 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Tom Breunig (124 Articles)
Tom Breunig is principal at Cleantech Concepts, a market research firm tracking R&D projects in the cleantech sector. He is a technology industry veteran and former international marketing and communications executive who has worked with organizations in semiconductor design, water monitoring, energy efficiency and environmental sensing. He has spoken at numerous technology and energy conferences.
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