Saturday, 1 February 2014

A Living Motorcycle

Recent advances in battery technology have focused on bio-technology, specifically looking at how to draw electricity out of the energy rich nature of natural sugars.  How much energy is stored in glucose?  A recent experiment drew about 10 times the electricity of a lithium ion battery out of a glucose energy cell on a per kilogram basis.  Battery weight has long been an issue, as has duration.  Focusing on bio-technology might resolve both of those issues while also producing a green electricity storage solution.

Electric bikes will start to take on the aspects of gas bikes
if they suddenly have much lighter batteries.
Perhaps most promising, research labs around the world are seeing success with enzyme based bio-tech batteries.  With many researchers pushing forward on this, we may see marketable solutions appearing in two to three years.

What does this mean for motorbikes?  Imagine a Zero motorcycle with a battery that weighs half as much (making it lighter than a gas equivalent motor), that produces four times the range (better than a gas motor).  If the glucose solution that provides the charge can be packaged separately, you may very well pull into a refuelling station in 2020, pull the spent fuel canister out from where your gas tank used to be and buy a new one.  You'd be ready to go in five minutes, pretty much just like a modern gas stop.

That spent canister would get recycled, the spent glucose solution either reused or composted.  Since new solution is created primarily from natural sugars, it would be a matter of growing more fuel.  Enhancements to the enzymes that break down the sugars would open up a strange new bio-tech world of performance enhancements.  People would customize how their bikes consume sugar in order to focus on performance or efficiency.  Advances in enzyme efficiency would allow for greater range and power.

These living bikes would consume sugars just like their riders do, they'd even breath as they did it.
The Brammo Empulse, a shockingly fast electric bike still hobbled by battery weight and range, but for how long?