Sunday, May 24, 2009

Zero Emissions Motorcycle

When we think about green energy vehicles we often think about modest designs and low speeds. But 6 final-year engineering students of Kingston University have designed a bike that dispels all myths about green vehicles.This bike has the ability to reach speeds of 102mph, race around a 38 mile mountainous course and is powered by batteries that can be charged from a standard household socket! They will take this bike to the world’s first zero-emissions Grand Prix this summer. The Kingston team will be competing with 24 eco-bikes from America, India, Italy, Germany and Austria at the 2009 Isle of Man TTXGP. Mr. Paul Brandon who is the Course Director for motorsport and motorcycle engineering shared his views, “Being green doesn’t have to mean slow. There are too many skeptics when it comes to electric vehicles but we all need to reduce our CO2 output and this initiative is taking a huge leap in that direction. The ideas we and others put to the test on the racing circuit are the ones most likely to become commonplace on the road.”

Students were working on this project since October last year. This project is also a part of their final assessment. The bike is run from a custom-built, 72-volt battery. According to Mr. Brandon, “The energy density of batteries is far less than that of petrol or diesel so how we manage the energy we carry is critical to our success in the race. The bike we have designed has a whole vehicle efficiency of 90 per cent, so we are only wasting 10 per cent of what we carry. By comparison a petrol-based vehicle wastes 70 per cent of the energy it carries.”

Alex Jones-Dellaportas, one of the team members claimed they have designed the bike through different stages. They focused on making the bike faster and lighter. Most of the materials they used for the bike were recycled. Another student elaborated further that appearance wise the bike looks like any other bike but there is a huge difference. This motorbike has no internal combustion engine, no exhaust system and no fuel tank. It goes without saying that the overall CO2 usage, including the carbon dioxide generated to charge the batteries, will be around 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a petrol or diesel-power bike. Gonzalo Carrasco, another student of the team says, “People need to realize that this technology is the future. By entering green races and building green designs we are hoping policy-makers will see the potential for this technology and start investing in it.”

Azhar Hussain who is the founder of TTXGP motorcycle race, is quite enthusiastic about the team’s motorbike. He too wants to watch the motorbike in action when it would be racing against formidable competition from around the globe on one of the most challenging road race courses in the world. Azhar Hussain thinks that Kingston University team has done a great job and if everything goes right then the exposure for Kingston will be priceless