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Hysun3000: Art meets Transport of Tomorrow

The Hysun3000 is about the future. It was placed on the map by its inventors in 2004, when it completed a 3,000-kilometer long trip from Berlin to Barcelona. The light, 3-wheel vehicle was powered by fuel-cell technology and so proved that fuel cells function. Since then the Hysun3000 has gone from one exhibition to the next as a "strategy for the future".

Hysun at RUHR.2010 and Arte Sustenible
The central theme of RUHR.2010 will be the future - and this is where the Hysun3000 will make a guest appearance in September this year.

RUHR.2010 is the program with which the city Essen will present itself as cultural capital of the whole Ruhr region in 2010. It answers the question what life will be like in the metropol of the future from an art, design and architectural perspective. Although the Hysun3000 is always ready to go, it doesn't move around under its own steam any more. Instead, it is transported around for educational purposes.

The roaming art and design exhibition Arte Sustenible was put together by the UNO "to make sustainability tangible", in the organization's own words. The exhibition displays the works of over 70 artists and initiatives from 17 countries. It also focuses on the future as a cultural term: how will we live, how do we want to live, when the era of fossil energy is behind us? One thing is certain: there will be completely new and different modes of transport.

Creativity which is sustainable
Both events touch on the theme "Sustainable Creativity". Already, the Hysun3000 is a bit of a star performer at the Arte Sustenible. Not only its design convinces, but also its performance. Ms. Gönner, patroness of the exhibition and minister of the environment, was truly amazed and impressed when she saw the Hysun3000: „Only 0,4 liter gasoline per 100 km? With solar support?!“ No, without. The Hysun3000 has highly modern fuel-cell technology on board. The proton-exchange membrane of the cells was developed by Ballard. Here hydrogen interacts with oxygen from the air and water. The energy gained from this reaction, drives two Kasbau engines. Even the energy generated by the brakes is converted for re-use by the Hysun3000.

Hysun is fuel-conscious
The Hysun3000 is „concept art of the highest standard“, says curator Samuel Fleiner, who likes to describe the vehicle as „communication plastic“. Not only has the Hysun set two world records, but it has also made history. In the Federal hall for Art in Bonn, the exhibit couldn't fit through the door of the gallery. The architect never expected futuristic autos to become exhibition objects!

In the department of the environment (UBA) in Dessau the  Hysun3000 caused a real political altercation. UBA vice-president Dr. Holzmann banned the hydrogen auto from the exhibition on the ground it "undermines the ruling sustainability concept". The UBA declared itself to be against the use of fuel cells in autos until the industry has exhausted the saving potential of conventional motor technology.

Holzmann saw the hydrogen technology as too expensive and ineffective. In any case, the national infrastructure required for the technology is still absent.

But, back when the first gasoline autos ventured onto the streets, gasoline was only for sale in chemists and there was nothing like a national network of gas stations.

The argument that the Hysun is about more than fuel cells, namely that it is also light, aerodynamic, recycles its brake energy and has a TÜV authorization, couldn't persuade the politicians to change their minds - the ban remained in place.

Hysun3000 has a future
Curator Samuel Fleiner can't be sidetracked by political squabbles and happily refers to the many different ways hydrogen can be recovered, namely from surplus solar and wind energy, from the basic electricity load, biogas and with the help of solar chemistry. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DGLR) recently developed a procedure, with which a ceramic catalyst and rusty iron are split into steam and oxygen at about 800 degrees Celsius - a practical process which produces hydrogen cheaply and emission-free.

"All is fine with the Hysun," ensures curator Fleiner good-humored. It waits well-packaged in its transport crate for its next appearance. Apart from RUHR.2010, it might still travel to Dresden, Vienna, Geneva and New York this year, but what exactly will happen, is still written in the stars.

Berlin-Barcelona on 3 wheels
Hysun3000 technology
Hysun3000 website

11 January 2010
Copy: Nora Manthey, Angela Sophia Wagner
Translation: Christoffel Volschenk



7 - 12 September 2021, IAA, Munich, Testtrack