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ECOmove QBEAK electric car, with bio-methanol fuel cell for 500 miles driving range

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The ECOmove QBEAK is a diminuitive electric car meant for urban use. (en.ecomove.dk) http://en.ecomove.dk/ It's manufactured in Denmark, and is expected to go on sale in late 2012.

The Modular Energy Carrier concept (MECC), is a project initiated by ECOmove, Insero E-Mobility and Serenergy that is modifying the QBEAK to carry a bio-methanol fuel cell, to implement a 500 mile driving range.

The unmodified QBEAK has a 180 mile driving range, can travel at highway speeds, and while it's a tiny car it can carry up to five passengers.


The QBEAK is a funky little electric car developed in Denmark by ECOmove. As an all electric car it has a modular battery pack system allowing from one to six modules to power the vehicle, and with six modules the QBEAK has a driving range of 180 miles (300 kilometers) and a top speed of 120 kilometers/hr (75 miles/hr) when outfitted with two 70kw motors. Each of the modules can hold 4.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity, giving the car a maximum energy capacity of around 27 kilowatt-hours. The QBEAK is a diminuitively small car that can hold up to six people, and has a flexible interior that's re-arrangeable for a variety of uses. Recyclability is designed into the car, through the use of recyclable materials in its manufacture. The QBEAK is expected to go into production at the end of 2012, and the company is taking reservations now. (www.torquenews.com) http://www.torquenews.com/1075/500-mile-range-electric-car-being-developed-denmark

The QBEAK is able to deliver 180 miles of range on 27 kilowatt-hours, when the norm in electric vehicles is to deliver a little less than 100 miles range on 24 kilowatt-hours of energy. The trick is to use lightweight, but strong, components. The composite chassis consists of two aluminium sheets separated by a layer of ARPRO; a lightweight material already used in certain automotive applications. The combination is not only light weight, requiring less energy to move the car, but gives good insulation to reduce energy required for heating and cooling, and reduce noise and vibration. The material is also very strong and the company expects to be awarded a five star crashworthiness rating. (www.theengineer.co.uk) http://www.theengineer.co.uk/design-engineering/news/company-shows-lightweight-material-for-electric-vehicles/1012657.article or http://en.ecomove.dk/article/86493-the-engineer-210512-company-shows-lightweight-material-for-electric-vehicles

The promise from ECOmove is that the QBEAK will be one of the most affordable, individual, flexible, sustainable and easy to drive and park EVs without compromising safety or reliability. �We wanted to design an innovative electric car on its own premise benefitting all kinds of users at the same time as reducing environment impact as much as possible. We have chosen to use alternative light weight materials and the QBEAK is equipped with a range of sustainable, competitive features such as in-wheel motors, an unique chassis platform with room for a flexible battery modules and a communication system based on a smartphone�, says Mogens L�kke, CEO at ECOmove. (en.ecomove.dk) http://en.ecomove.dk/article/84025-first-full-body-version-of-qbeak

Climate impact: The QBEAK is CO2 and pollution free. It has sustainable parts and makes no noise, no smoke nor particles.

Economic: QBEAK represents low running costs because of low consumption rates. The parts are recyclable, and it is possible to buy, lease and/or rebuild the QBEAK car.

Safety: Seatbelts in seats, good driver field of view and multiple collision zone to absorb shocks. The QBEAK is made from safe, robust, non-corrosive materials.

Flexibility: It is possible to adapt or rebuild the QBEAK. Also is has a flexible seat system - from 1 to 6 seats, user defined exterior and interior. Energy module system with range capacity from app 50 to 300 km.

Usability: The QBEAK has in/out in both sides, an attractively low loading height, small turning radius, remote-controlled applications, simple instrumentation and automatic sliding doors.

The MECC fuel cell system

The main purpose of the MecC (Modular energy carrier Concept) is to introduce a clean, simple, competitive range extender for battery electric vehicles (BEV) based on bio-methanol as energy carrier. (en.ecomove.dk) http://en.ecomove.dk/article/85005-mec-concept

The Range extender is based on a HTPEM fuel cell system with integrated methanol reformer. Due to the HTPEM tolerance to CO and high heat rejection temperature the combination is cost effective and simple yielding efficiencies significant higher than generic reformer configurations. Methanol is an existing automotive fuel in several countries as an additive or blend. It is being produced from biomass gasification or hydrogen/carbon synthesis. This enables the change from fossil to biomass/electric renewable liquid fuels with a very low total Carbon footprint.

NOTE: "reformers" extract hydrogen out of a source material that contains hydrogen. In this case, bio-methanol.

NOTE: HTPEM is High temperature PEM Fuel cell stack.

Researchers and automakers agree that the electrical platform is the most efficient way of converting energy to wheels and thereby motion. However to store electrical energy is not easy. That is, the energy and power density of battery packs are much lower than the energy and power density of gasoline. However, it's recognized fossil fuel resources are beginning to run out. While that's a long process which will take decades to play out, there's a need to begin working on alternatives to fossil fuels.

Battery electrical vehicles (BEV) with a battery pack as the single source of onboard energy storage are an option to fossil fuels. Current BEV's are suboptimal, due to long recharge times.

Another option is the Fuel cell electrical vehicle FCEV, this is dominated by hydrogen fueled vehicles with a main FC engine and a small battery pack for collecting regenerative breaking.

The MecC uses a Fuel cell range extender enabling the extended range electric vehicle (EREV). Besides leveraging on the combination of two technologies the Fuel cell system runs on a Methanol/water mix enabling the use of the current fueling infrastructure. The extended range offers all the same features as an ICE based car while maintaining the EV benefits.

When running on liquid fuels such as Methanol by onboard reforming the Methanol into a hydrogen rich gas the High temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (HTPEM) is a better match as the elevated temperature and basic build up enables a simple integration with the reformer. This is due to a tolerance to pollutants from the reformer process and the ability to use waste heat from the fuel cell to drive the reformer process.

The MecC utilizes a HTPEM integrated methanol power system that converts methanol into electrical direct current charging directly onto the battery with low conversion losses and drives the onboard heating and cooling system with waste heat.

The MecC uses a methnoal/water mix that can be produced from biomass or central produced hydrogen to recharge the battery in the EREV. The enables the reuse of existing infrastructure and distribution concepts from the initial deployment to mass usage parallel to the current fossil setup.

This is different from other FCEV's which would require the build-out of a new infrastructure for delivering pure hydrogen gas.

Participants in the MECC project

Ecomove develops and produce electric cars. The mission at ECOmove is to develop and deliver economical cars, which provide drivers with a clean climate-conscience and which can always be tailored to the demands of the individual customer.

(ecomove.dk) http://ecomove.dk/

Serenergy design, manufacture and sell fuel cell stacks and fuel cell power modules for system integrators and in a broad range of markets and applications. Serenergy is a leading manufacturer of fuel cell stack modules featuring the HTPEM (High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane) technology.

(www.serenergy.com) http://www.serenergy.com/

Insero E-mobility is a member-based cluster organisation that actively promotes the Danish electric car sector at national and international level. Main activities include network activities, knowledge sharing, commercial fundraising, coordination of development projects and promoting the Danish electric car sector abroad.

(e-mobility.insero.com) http://e-mobility.insero.com/om-insero-e-mobility/

Publications related to use of methanol as a transportation fuel

Green Synthetic fuels:

Coherent Energy & Environmental System Analysis (CEESA)

Methanol resources:

The Methanol institute

  • Community of methanol producing and consuming stakeholders
  • Information database for methanol related topics
  • (www.methanol.org) http://www.methanol.org/

Renewable methanol manufacturers:

Carbon Recycling International - Iceland

  • Production of 2nd generation methanol from Geosynthesis
  • Carbon capture combined with renewable hydrogen equals Methanol
  • See more; (www.carbonrecycling.is) http://www.carbonrecycling.is/

BioMCN - The Netherlands

Varmlands Methanol - Sweden

Danish Methanol Association - Denmark

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