It is only a prototype but it could be the future of the elevator.
A lead that only OTIS, one of the big 4 is exploring. They worked on this project with GREMI, a mixed laboratory of the CNRS and an university in Orléans.
It is an hybrid elevator that works with solar panels located on the top of its building and with a fuel cell. Thanks to that fuel cell, we can work without any battery which contain toxic metals like plumb.
The fuel cell works thanks to the generation of a tension by the oxidation of hydrogen on an electrode and the reduction on the other electrode of an oxidant such as oxygen. Why is it interesting ? Because the hydrogen stored on solid form takes only a few space.
The chemical reaction is clean because it only produce water.
In the end, we have a battery 3 times smaller and 5 to 10 times lighter. Furthermore, as a solid, we suppress the risk of hydrogen explosion. In the R&D department of OTIS in GIEN, the test was a huge success.. Based on an average of 150 trips a day, the average for a private building of 5 floors.
The goal is to reduce the energy consumption of all existing elevators and make them self sufficient. Basically, put an end of the connection between the elevators and the electrical network. A interesting idea for the countries where there is no power all day.. Or no current at all except that supplied by a generator … In Africa, in Asia … even in isolated sites according to Otis, in mountain for example.
That remind us that elevators are pieces of technology. For example, an elevator spend 23 hours at sleep per day. And when we call it, it has to wake up instantly. So the energetic management is really important. We need to be able to store that energy and use it at the perfect timing. It is like a car, it consume more energy at the start. On that point, the hydrogen solution is really impressive. If it can reduce the maintenance, even better… All these projects developed by OTIS could become reality in the next 5 years.