A U.S. Department of Energy-funded fuel-cell-powered ice resurfacer is touring ice rinks across the United States, promoting use of hydrogen fuel cells.
The vehicle, called the eP-ICEBEAR, is the world's first fuel-cell-powered ice resurfacer. Its development was led by the University of North Dakota's Energy & Environmental Research Center.
Energy Department officials said the crowded, enclosed space of ice arenas make them perfect venues for the introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Unlike propane-powered ice resurfacers that sometimes cause dangerous carbon monoxide buildups on the ice while resurfacing, the eP-ICEBEAR has no harmful exhaust -- plain water is the only emission.
Also, officials added, unlike batteries, hydrogen-powered vehicles don't gradually lose power or have to be recharged from electrical sources; rather, they continually produce their own electricity by being refueled, like a car engine.
The Energy Department said fuel cells have the potential to provide the United States with greater energy security, extend fossil fuel reserves and reduce dependence on imported fuels.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International