To be fair, I have to say that while I recycle, I'm not a total environmentalist. I try to organize my plastics and glass so that they go into the recycle bin (my girlfriend is all over me about that, so I really do try for fear of retribution in the form of "the stern look"). But I was raised in an era where it didn't matter, so re-tooling my sensibilities has taken some time. That being said, I am of the opinion that the Earth will just plain wipe us out if we don't conform to certain rules to keep her safe so that life can continue.
The search for an economical alternative fuel source is a big deal these days (2008-you know... the year with a new president, crazy oil prices, and the US economy tanking in a dramatic fashion). So, when I stumbled upon these hydrogen powered car toys, it got me thinking about how possible alternative fuel sources are.
Horizon first introduced this little car in 2006 as a quick to assemble science kit. It operates on a reversible Polymer Electolyte Membrane fuel cell. Distilled water is used to fill the twin cylinders at the rear of the car.
An electrical charge built up by a solar panel takes ten minutes to extract hydrogen and oxygen atoms from the water. The PEM fuel cell processes the hydrogen, which then combines with the oxygen to form the electricity needed to move the car. This process also powers blue LED lights located inside the cockpit.
While not a remote-controlled vehicle, the Hydrocar does turn away from objects if it bumps into them.
The H-Racer is a more recent model of toy Hydrocar produced by Horizon. This sleek little toy car is gets its juice from a separate hydrogen fuel station. The station is used to fuel an onboard hydrogen fuel cell that performs the same process as described above.
You have to admit that the H-Racer has a certain "If this was a real car, it would go 10,000 miles-per-hour" kind of look, whereas the previous model looks like something out of an old Flash Gordon serial.
Real hydrogen-powered automobiles were introduced by Honda in 2005. There are now multiple models of these vehicles produced by major auto manufacturers including Ford, GM, and Mazda.
What the toy Hydrocar does is simple: introduces kids to the potential future of automobile fuel resources. It is important for the youth of today to progress beyond the fossil-fuel mentality.
And while I, in my "Hey, let's light a bonfire made out of aerosol cans and plastic bottles" mentality can actually learn to recycle, I realize that things can't stay the same. The Earth can only take so much abuse from us before it decides we were a mistake and simply shrugs its shoulders to eradicate the human species.
The toy Hydrocar can open up a child's mind to new, Earth-friendly fuel sources.
Pretty neat for a little toy, eh?
The H-Racer can be purchased at Amazon. The original Hydrocar kit can be found at EcoCentric.
SOURCES: Hydrogen Cars Now