ICS Magazine

Manhattan Scientifics to develop Fuel Cell Powered Vacuum Cleaner Prototype

January 24, 2001
New York -- Manhattan Scientifics Inc. has entered into a joint agreement with Electrolux LLC and Lunar Design Inc. to develop an evaluation prototype of a fuel cell powered vacuum cleaner for the home.

The prototype fuel cell that powers a unique portable vacuum cleaner will be designed and built by Manhattan Scientifics. This advanced appliance for the home is designed to free the user from electric cords and A/C wall plugs while providing full power cleaning performance. Potentially distinctive features in the market share battle for high-end vacuum cleaners are the unit's light weight and low noise coupled with freedom of movement throughout the home or business.

Last month, the company announced that it has entered into an agreement with Aprilia, S.p.A., one of Europe's largest manufacturers of motor scooters and motorcycles, to develop a fuel cell powered concept bicycle. In December at the Bologna Motor Show in Italy, Aprilia unveiled the bicycle, a version of Manhattan Scientifics' Hydrocycle bicycle.

Electrolux’s power system will use Manhattan Scientifics' mid-range fuel technology developed by its partner company, NovArs GmbH. The fuel cell's design uses advanced composite materials and sealing technology, designed to minimize size and weight, makes it ideal as a power source for portable equipment, the company says. The system is a hydrogen/air system using hydrogen as fuel. It is expected that it will supply 1000 watts of power at ambient pressure with minimum ancillary equipment.

The prototype is being developed on an accelerated timetable, and it is expected that significant weight and size reductions will be incorporated into subsequent prototypes. The power system contains two existing fuel cell stacks providing over one kilowatt of power, an electronic control board, and a hydrogen storage vessel. For demonstration, the system is anticipated to produce one - two hours of operating time, which depends on the size of the fuel vessel used and it will weigh in at approximately 10 pounds. The fuel cell driven power system is slated to be delivered to Lunar in mid January for final integration into their vacuum cleaner prototype.

The hydrogen fuel is stored in a lightweight carbon fiber reinforced pressure vessel. With a replacement tank via a quick connect/disconnect feature, the fuel supply can be refilled within seconds.

Electrolux will be able to use its worldwide in-the-home customer service network to deliver refilled hydrogen bottles to customers. Disconnect and replacement will be similar to bottled propane and butane replacement currently used for barbeque grills and heaters. The Electrolux units will be significantly smaller and lighter in weight.