December 8, 2006 Hobby R/C racing enthusiasts will soon operate 1/10th scale radio controlled competition grade vehicles on clean hydrogen fuel cell power. The innovative power unit created by Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies follows the commercial launch of its H-racer miniature fuel cell car and solar powered hydrogen refueling station in June this year. Recently named as one of the Best Inventions of 2006 by Time Magazine, the H-racer is now the best selling fuel cell product in the world, and Horizon’s first step in bringing the world a tangible vision for a viable hydrogen economy. Named the “H-cell”, the new R/C hobby power combines an ultra-compact air-cooled PEM fuel cell system with a scaled down fuel storage unit that can safely carry 20 to 40 liters of solid state hydrogen. Widely available 1/10th scale electric R/C cars will now be able to run on real automotive fuel cell power concepts at speeds reaching 35km/h, good acceleration, decreased hydrogen fuel consumption and increased power autonomy over conventional battery solutions. Designed to fit into the original 7.2V NiCad battery slot, the H-cell is designed as a futuristic power source using light emitting air cooling fans. Not limited to cars, the power unit will also be able to be used to power small boats, planes, and robots.
“Hobbyists want real performance, and RC hobby cars push the limits of fuel cell design in terms of power density. It’s going to be a very fun product”, reports Taras Wankewycz, Vice President of Business Development. “Horizon is continuing to increase the power output of its commercial products. The new power system for R/C vehicles uses a scaled down system configuration of what would be needed for portable power, or real-size transport applications. This product will also be a real test for hydrogen fuel distribution, an essential step for many applications to be powered by fuel cells”
As with the H-racer, the H-cell power system will definitely turn heads. Measuring only 3.5cm x 5.5cm x 8cm, the small fuel cell unit produces 30W of nominal power and up to 40W of peak power. Its electronic control unit will combine fuel cell operation and also boost power for acceleration. It will also show when hydrogen fuel supply is low or insufficient. There are no batteries in the H-cell fuel cell power system.
With significant interest starting to build from passionate hobbyists all over the world, Horizon started a waiting list on its website. You can enter your name now if you want to be one of the first to receive the H-cell. The power unit will be supplied as an integration kit in an elegant casing and will start shipments in early 2007.