H2ice Ford Focus Proves The Viability Of Hydrogen Internal Combustion Technology
After nearly a year on the road logging thousands of miles, the engine in the Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (H2ICE) Ford Focus is now even stronger due to the installation of a new supercharger with a Lysholm positive displacement screw-type compressor.
"The Ford H2ICE has the reliability and long-term durability similar to a gasoline-fueled engine," said Bob Natkin, group leader for hydrogen ICE development, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "Now performance is improved with more low-end torque and better off-the-line response with the new supercharger."
The original engine in the H2ICE, when it was first put into service in October 2002, utilized a more-common centrifugal supercharger with a fan-like spinning impeller. The new Lysholm supercharger is a positive-displacement screw-type compressor that is capable of higher boost pressures at lower speeds. While the earlier version supercharger starts to come up on boost around 3,000 rpm, the new supercharger is already at maximum boost at 3,000 rpm.
From the outside, the Ford Focus H2ICE looks much like any other Ford Focus Wagon. The engineers who constructed it have nicknamed it "Kermit" for its green paint.
The H2ICE powertrain is a supercharged and intercooled 2.3-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine combined with a five speed manual transmission.
An over-sized fuel rail on the engine is designed to dampen out the pulsation of a gaseous fuel. In the rear of the vehicle is a 5,000 psi aluminum fuel tank strengthened with overlapping carbon fiber that holds five kilograms of fuel
The engine is the same type that was unveiled to the media earlier in 2003 in the Model U concept vehicle and in the H2RV technology concept car. Both vehicles combine the H2ICE engine with a hybrid-electric transmission system.
In "Kermit" the hydrogen ICE engine and fuel system give the vehicle a 185-mile driving range. Zero to 60 acceleration time is about 12 seconds. Emissions from the H2ICE of all carbon-based pollutants, including carbon dioxide, are nearly zero.
Ford is also a leader in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle research - but mass production of those vehicles is years away. The hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine is regarded as a transition or "bridging" strategy to stimulate the hydrogen infrastructure and related hydrogen technologies including on-board hydrogen fuel storage, hydrogen fuel dispensing and hydrogen safety sensors.
The H2ICE engine has many benefits versus hydrogen fuel cells. H2ICE's are all-weather capable, requiring zero warm-up and have no cold start issues. H2ICE's are highly efficient (52 percent peak indicated efficiency), and have logged thousands of hours on engine dynamometers.
H2ICE's can easily achieve SULEV emissions, or better, and more than 99 percent reduced CO2 vehicle emissions. Performance is comparable to gasoline, while fuel economy is increased by up to 25 percent.
"Kermit is very much a work in progress," said Natkin. "We continue to improve the engine technology. We are also turning our sights to improving fuel storage pressure, to boost fuel storage capability and range. Be prepared for an even better H2ICE Ford Focus in the months ahead."
H2ICE VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS
Platform Ford Focus Wagon - ZTW
Curb Weight 3350 lbs
Fuel Compressed Gaseous Hydrogen
Fuel Pressure 5000 psi
Fuel Quantity/Range 5 kg for 185 miles
Emissions PZEV or better with after-treatment
2.3L Supercharged, Intercooled Hydrogen ICE
5-Speed Manual Transmission
0 - 60 mph 12 seconds
Fuel Economy 37 ½ miles per kg of H2 (MH cycle)
Driving Range 185 Miles
Engine Power 120 HP @ 5000 rpm