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October 08, 2009

Hydrogen Bicycle with A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Completed
~Demonstration Started at Kansai International Airport on October 13~

Iwatani Corporation


Iwatani Corporation (Head office: Tokyo and Osaka; President: Akiji Makino; Paid-in-Capital: 20 billion yen) has pursued various initiatives towards pioneering new fields for the use of fuel cells, and has now developed a motorized Hydrogen Bicycle that has a  hydrogen fuel cell as an electric power generator.

The corporation has developed fuel cell motorized bicycles over three years from FY2006 to FY2008 as a part of the Japan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Demonstration Project (JHFC) implemented by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. This year, based on the results of the development in the project, further original improvements have been done to make monitor evaluation by ordinary persons, under the concept of "a Hydrogen Bicycle that anyone can ride comfortably, easily and safely”. Following its successful completion recently, it will be put into demonstration in the actual business at the Kansai International Airport from October 13.  The Hydrogen Bicycle is also available for trial rides at various events, allowing people to experience at first hand hydrogen energy.  




■ Use of Hydrogen Cartridges Means Battery Recharging is Unnecessary

The hydrogen bicycle has a pure hydrogen-type 60 Watts class fuel cell and a hydrogen cartridge developed independently by Iwatani Corporation to supply hydrogen gas. As the battery voltage of the runs low, the hydrogen cartridge automatically supplies hydrogen to the fuel cell to generate electric power, making it unnecessary to recharge the battery with a battery charger.

The power from the battery drives the motor to assist with pedaling. Assisted pedaling is available while recharging, making it possible to travel under powered assistance about 1.5 times longer than the cruising distance by battery alone.
The bicycle constantly monitors the voltage level of the battery, allowing power generation and recharging automatically when the battery voltage level becomes lower than the set value as long as it is once switched on.


■ Original Development of a Compact Hydrogen Storage Alloy Cartridge to Make it Safe, Practical, and Easy / Convenient to Use

A hydrogen supply system using hydrogen cartridges was developed in tandem with the Hydrogen Bicycle. This cartridge is an original product developed by Iwatani. Hydrogen storage alloy is loaded inside the cartridge to store 80 litters (at 0 deg-C, 0.1 MPa) of hydrogen at low pressure. The cartridge is designed to improve heat exchange efficiency for quick heat exchange when storing or supplying hydrogen, enabling shorter filling time and greater quantity and of hydrogen supply compared with the previous similar products. The cartridge is connected with a one-touch coupler for easy attachment / detachment.


■ Demonstration at Kansai International Airport

The demonstration of Hydrogen Bicycle will be made through travel in the area of Kansai International Airport, where Iwatani has equipment for recharging hydrogen cartridges in the Kansai Airport Hydrogen Station. The Hydrogen Bicycle will also be shown at exhibitions and events around the country to raise awareness about the spread of hydrogen energy.


■ Main Characteristics of the Hydrogen Bicycle

(1) Power supplied by a fuel cell means no battery recharging is required

(2) The cruising range of the bicycle has been increased

(3) Hydrogen cartridges automatically supply hydrogen to the fuel cell

(4) The cartridge is connected by a one-touch coupler for easy attachment / detachment

(5) Once the battery level becomes low the fuel cell automatically begins to supply power



An Outline of the Hydrogen Bicycle








Travel Distance

Approx. 45.0km

Continuous Power Supply

3 hours

Power System

Fuel Cell Stack



(Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel)


60W class







Hydrogen Cartridge

Fuel type

Pure hydrogen gas

Storage type

Hydrogen storage alloy




80 litters

(0 deg-C, 0.1 MPa)