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
50 centimeters (20 inches) tall, 4.2 kilograms (9.24 pounds)
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
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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Page compiled by Sterling
D. Allan July 1, 2005
Last updated December 24, 2014