If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. So when news that a UK inventor had designed an aluminium-air fuel-cell that lasts 1,500 miles, costs £0.08p per mile to run and can be swapped in 90 seconds for free, BEST‘s attention was piqued.
Trevor Jackson, from MAL Research and Development (MAL), says motorists can convert ICE vehicles to his Metalectrique systems for around £3,500, which includes an electric motor placed on the vehicle’s axle and a new electric engine.
Along with partner Austin Electric — which was incorporated on 21 September, according to Companies House— MAL will begin building the first Métalectrique powered cars next year.
The engineer and former Royal Navy officer has secured a £108,000 grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a partner of the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The £60/kWh-1,300Wh/kg systems will be made my UK firm Thornbury Manufacturing in Plymouth, although how many will be made in the next year a spokesman for MAL couldn’t say.
The spokesman also couldn’t confirm how many of the changing stations would be built, but they did say the Devon-based firm is in talks with supermarket brand Tesco’s to deploy them at their premises across the UK.
The end-of-use systems will be recycled using a smelting process that removes the bitumen coating on the anode. The company says their new smelter procedure only produces aluminium, oxygen and water, rather than CO2 produced in previous processes.
A statement from the company said: “In the reaction, aluminium is transformed into aluminium hydroxide. This can be transformed back into aluminium through a CO2-free smelting process by harnessing natural forms of energy such as solar, wind, geo and hydropower. Normal operating temperatures are about 25 degrees centigrade (77 fahrenheit).”
Watch this space…