Across the globe, auto manufacturers are looking for the next green technology to power automotives that will move us away from fossil fuels. In Egypt, a group of students’ have designed and built a vehicle that runs on nothing more than air. Astounded? Well, don’t be. The undergraduate students built this air-kart as part of their graduation project from Helwan University just outside Cairo, and will soon be rolling out a prototype of the one-seater vehicle that runs on compressed oxygen. The type that you would fill your car tyres with.
The Vehicle which looks like a cross between a go-kart and a buggy has been built at a time when their home country is struggling with economic reform. The kind that includes deep cuts to energy subsidies, measures tied to a three-year $12 billion IMF loan programme it began in late 2016. The most important thing is that the vehicle is cost-effective to build and almost free to run, costing the students no more than Rs. 50,000 to build. The prototype can run for 30 kms at 40 kmph without the need to refuel, although it is likely that it will be a while before you can buy one. The students say that since the vehicle runs on air, the operational cost is negligible and if the fossil independence isn't enough doesn’t even need cooling. However, we feel like it is unlikely that the vehicle can be run with an alternative.
The team of students, who undoubtedly passed their graduation project with flying colours, are now looking for funding to research whether the vehicle can be mass produced or not. They believe that from a prototype stage to the final product they will be able to achieve speeds of up to 100 kmph and a range of 100 kmph before it needs refuelling. If the students are able to secure the right kind of funding with the right kind of leadership, this may well be the epicentre of a groundbreaking future technology. Although only time will tell!