More about innovation in Chile
It might sound very futuristic, but it is already a reality. At the “8th Congress of Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Another Turn of the Screw,” which was held in Santiago on 9 July, the Chilean engineers Jose Ignacio Galindo and Victor Aguilera presented an automobile that works with hydrogen. While it cannot attain great speeds, the vehicle uses an abundant and clean fuel, unlike oil.
For five years the Chilean entrepreneurs have been thinking about how to make hydrogen into a viable fuel for vehicles. Thus they created the company Alset, based in Austria, where they developed their work. They also entered into a partnership with Chilean and US investors to finance the project.
Thus, the engineers set up their laboratories in the University of Graz, where they were able to create a hydrogen injection system that allows cars to operate with gasoline as well as hydrogen and with autonomy of 350 km. The system that they developed allows you to flip a switch to choose the type of fuel being used.
That characteristic is unique in the world, as the other two similar models that exist in the world, the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen and the BMW Hydrogen are factory-designed to take both fuels, while the Alset system can be installed in practically any vehicle.
The idea, which the Chilean engineers have already patented, has received some criticism, especially over the high cost of producing hydrogen, the high investments needed to create a storage and distribution system and the danger of circulating with such a volatile fuel. “The idea’s revolutionary nature has made it hard to gain acceptance, but it was developed in laboratories where they create the technologies for Formula One cars. This has allowed us to hold talks with major companies,” Victor Aguilera told Las Ultimas Noticias.
“The price will be driven down as the market is developed; the same will be the case with the distribution system. Regarding the risks, according to a 2006 UN report, it is no more flammable than other fuels like gasoline when the appropriate technology is used,” Aguilera told the same media outlet.