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Two Aussies are madly developing a Hydrogen-powered Australian-engineered 1200cc V8 motorcycle

In AMCN Vol 71 No 09, Hamish Cooper introduced Aussie bike brand Salt’s plans for a lightweight V8 motorcycle engine. We all got excited and then – well, nothing happened.

Well, it was happening, it was just happening behind the scenes. You see, Brendan James is Paul Lewis’s partner and backer for Salt Motorcycles. He’s also the founder and chairman of LINE Hydrogen, a company set to revolutionise Australia’s energy sector.

So apart from being a motorcyclist, Brendan’s a mining engineer who’s operated in some pretty remote places. As such, he knows that if we’re going to kick our 84 million litres a day diesel habit and exceed our CO2 reduction targets, we need to get into green hydrogen. His company LINE has just announced its first full-scale commercial green hydrogen plant in Tasmania.

What’s this got to do with a V8 motor in an Aussie-made Salt motorcycle? Electric vehicles are great for city work when they can sit around on a charger for eight hours a day, but out in the bush, power needs to be trucked in an instant. Green hydrogen is basically using solar or hydroelectricity to break water down into hydrogen that can be tanked to where it’s needed.

For us piston heads, and for those of us who love travelling the outback, hydrogen power is the answer.

Now without getting scientific, hydrogen can power an internal combustion (piston) engine with some serious modifications, mostly to allow for the fact that hydrogen provides roughly half the power of petrol and diesel for equal quantities. So the Salt board decided to skip the petrol stage with the new V8 and go straight to hydrogen power. 

Being lightweight and potentially very powerful, it’s a perfect starting point for the motorcycle engine of the future. This means that one day you and I can go bush on our Australian-made hydrogen-powered turbocharged V8 1200cc Salts with all the convenience and practicality of a fossil-fuelled bike. We can fill up at roadhouses and our exhausts will be spitting out water. We’ll be running on power made from the sun, the wind and water. 

Running? Nah, with injected and force-fed V8s, mate… we’ll be roaring!

Purely opinion here but I’ve got a few mates involved in green hydrogen and a whole lot more in the mining sector. Right now Australia has the technology and expertise combined with endless sunshine, plenty of space and more than enough water (salt water, too) that could see us leading the world in green hydrogen production. We have the potential to supply all our own needs and export the rest.

Funny isn’t it? Australia’s energy future is all there, right in front of us and it’s a motorcyclist and a motorcycle engine leading the charge.   

  Words John Rooth  Photography Salt