Ford Motor Company has introduced a new car with a hydrogen internal combustion engine that could help bridge the gap between petrol vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.
The P2000 hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2ICE) concept vehicle reportedly offers dramatically decreased emission levels and improved engine efficiency.
The ease of manufacture and similarity in operation to petrol products means hydrogen ICEs could be used to encourage the growth of a hydrogen-fuelling infrastructure while the technology for long-term transportation solutions, such as hydrogen fuel cells, continues to mature.
Ford’s P2000 H2ICE uses a modified version of the Zetec 2.0-litre petrol engine used in Ford’s Focus. The engine’s efficiency is said to be improved by 25-30 percent over its petrol counterpart.
The vehicle is currently equipped with a conventional fuel storage system containing 87 litres of hydrogen at a pressure of 3,600 psi for an operating range of 62 miles.
Engineers will soon install an upgraded fuel storage system designed to increase range to 150 miles or more.
Using hydrogen as a fuel, H2ICE emissions are said to be a fraction of those from conventional petrol engines.
According to Ford Motor Company, there is a small amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas emissions resulting from the engine oil present in the cylinders of modern engines and it would take over 300 H2ICE vehicles to emit the same amount of CO2 as one petrol fuelled vehicle.
Hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO) regulated emissions are one- tenth of SULEV requirements whilst Nitric oxide (NOx) regulated emissions are one- fourth that of petrol and with moderate after treatment would certify at SULEV levels as well.
‘While we still believe fuel cells are the best hope for a zero-emission product to replace the internal combustion engine in the future,’ said John Wallace, Executive Director of Ford’s TH!NK Group, ‘the P2000 H2ICE offers a great opportunity to improve hydrogen infrastructure with a vehicle that is comparatively easy to produce and seamless in customer operation.’