This radio-controlled car is powered by something a little unusual: aluminum tabs from beer and soda cans. The dAIH2Orean R/C car is a fuel cell that extracts a maximum speed of 18 miles per hour by mixing recycled aluminum, water, and sodium hydroxide to produce hydrogen. The car’s systems run on a closed loop, so the dAIH2Orean R/C car produces zero emissions.
The dAIH2Orean R/C car was designed by UPC BarcelonaTech professor Xavier Salueña and his student Aleix Llovet for a project called Aluminium, in which students attempted to design cars powered by recycled aluminum. Salueña got his inspiration from the the trash-eating Mr. Fusion reactor on Doc Brown’s DeLorean in Back to the Future.
How practical is this for mainstream vehicle applications? Well, like Doc’s DeLorean, not very–at least not yet. But being able to power a fuel cell with recycled metals suggests that there are many automotive power sources out there yet to be discovered. This little R/C car could provide inspiration to a whole generation of new ideas for vehicle propulsion.