It's a small step down the hydrogen highway, but could turn out to be a significant one. After all, if you get used to a technology in the form of a toy, it doesn't seem so daunting when it grows up.
That is the strategy of Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, a company whose goal is to integrate fuel cells into a wide range of products, starting small, evolving towards bigger and higher power applications. The Singapore-based company started in 2003 with fuel-cell science kits. It's working on an inexpensive charger for consumer devices. And at Toy Fair next week in New York City, it's introducing a fuel-cell powered radio-controlled car, made in cooperation with Corgi International--the H2GO. The company says the car can run about 5 minutes on a "tank" of fuel, but the on-board hydrogen fuel cell recharges in moments when the car docks with refueling station. A solar cell powers the refueling station, that breaks down tap water into hydrogen and oxygen, releases the oxygen, and pumps the hydrogen into a balloon in the car. It also powers the remote. And even the car's body is environmentally friendly--it's made of wheat-based plastic.
The H2GO is slated to go on the market for $99.99 in September.