Log9 Materials, a Bengaluru-based start-up, believes that the fundamental is to focus on the generation of energy, in place of energy storage. It says that a car powered by aluminium fuel cells can have a drive of 1000 km, post which the aluminium plates can be replaced within minutes.
The contest is always about top speed or luxury when it came to premium cars with big price tags and it was about better mileage when it came to mass-market cars and there is still abundant focus on these subject matters, but clean mobility employs the centre stage of every car manufacturer's agenda today. Being from Hyundai to Porsche, they all have plug-in electric car models in their launch line up - even Ferrari developed hybrid cars of which the SF90 Stradale is a PHEV that can run on battery only as well.
Akshay Singhal, Founder, Log 9 Materials says “The path to 100% clean energy mobility can be much simpler and more economical with aluminium fuel cells than it is with any other technology like lithium-ion,”
The Mahindra e2o Plus seen dashing along the streets of Bengaluru and it runs on aluminium and water. This is the technology in question that challenges the EV industry to snap out of energy storage.
Aluminium fuel cells majorly use three components – aluminium, water, and carbon in the form of graphene. In layman’s word, there's water between layers of graphene, and when aluminium comes in contact with water, it corrodes - releasing energy. Singhal explains that procuring raw materials for aluminium fuel cells is much simpler than those for lithium-ion batteries which use lithium and cobalt. And hence, manufacturing cost can be considerably lower for aluminium fuel cells than lithium-ion battery packs.
The other major benefit of this technology is that the aluminium plates are exhaustive and at the end of their useful life; they turn into an oxidised powder than can be sweltered into aluminium plates again. Hence, that makes the spent fuel recyclable.