Fuel cells operate by pushing hydrogen and oxygen through a fuel cell, creating water and an electric current which then powers the vehicle. However, carrying hydrogen has proved a difficult task, either because fuel tanks would be too bulky or because of safety fears in the event of an accident. But at the conference, Zevco revealed its newly-developed Powerball system, a simple and safe method for supplying hydrogen to the fuel cell.
The hydrogen is stored in globes of plastic within a specially developed fuel tank. Each globe is stuck to the top of the tank, where a spinning blade cuts up the plastic and releases the hydrogen. The plastic falls into a pool of water left at the bottom of the tank and dissolves, while the hydrogen is pumps to the fuel cell.
Each tank holds 100 balls, enough for 20 hours of operation, according to Zevco. Furthermore, the plastic and water is simply recycled into more plastic balls. The system is still under development to reduce its size, but a spokesman said it was at an advanced stage.