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You are here: > News > July 1, 2005

Japanese firm develops world's first robot powered by fuel cells

Humanoid robot is powered by easy-to-replace, environmentally friendly fuel-cell batteries. Now for sell, the 50-centimeter (20-inch) tall, 4.2-kilogram (9.24-pound) robot carries a built-in hydrogen cylinder.

Adapted for Pure Energy Systems News
by Sterling D. Allan

50 centimeters (20 inches) tall, 4.2 kilograms (9.24 pounds)

Fuel Cell Powered Robot Speecys-FC  Future Technology News technology Review

TOKYO, JAPAN -- Robot development firm Speecys Corp. of Tokyo has developed a small humanoid robot to go on sale today, powered entirely by easy-to-replace, environmentally friendly fuel-cell batteries.

These fuel cells produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, with water as the only by-product.  The hydrogen can be produced via renewable sources such as wind or solar power, though presently hydrogen is produced largely from fossil fuel -- a trend that is changing toward the cleaner methods.

The robot is powered by five fuel cell stacks located in its arms. A 16-liter canister of compressed hydrogen is inserted near the robot's neck.  With the robot consuming about one liter of hydrogen every 2 minutes, this canister can last for about one hour of operation.  The canister can be easily replaced in contrast to conventional batteries that take hours to recharge.

"We believe that it is more suitable for (humanoid) robots to get fuel in cartridges as if they were having meals rather than to get batteries recharged," Speecys said in a statement.

The robot stand 50 centimeters (20 inches) tall, weights 4.2 kilograms (9.24 pounds), and is operated by a personal computer via a wireless local area network.

Beginning today, the company will begin manufacturing it on a build-to-order basis for universities, research institutions and companies, with the robot to be priced at 2.5 million yen (US$22,850).  This is five times more expensive than a previous version run by conventional nickel metal hydride batteries. Speecys Corp aims to sell 10 units a year for research as well as display purposes.  Speecys-FC is the first fuel cell powered walking robot to be available on the market.

Speecys Corp is headed by former Sony robot engineer Tomoaki Kasuga.

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See also

Page compiled by Sterling D. Allan July 1, 2005
Last updated December 24, 2014





"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right." -- Albert Einstein

ADVISORY: With any technology, you take a high risk to invest significant time or money unless (1) independent testing has thoroughly corroborated the technology, (2) the group involved has intellectual rights to the technology, and (3) the group has the ability to make a success of the endeavor.
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   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

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