• Apr 3rd 2006 at 7:03PM
  • 11
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. That can be re-interpreted, for automakers, as the more consumers want your car, the more money they’ll spend your way. And what consumers want right now is better gas mileage, as gas prices continue to climb towards that magical $3 a gallon mark.

Bob Brooks of Consumer Guide reports on one technology, the hydrogen-boosted engine, as a possible future consumer demand. This gas engine injects hydrogen in the regular air/fuel mix of a normal gasoline powertrain. Fuel economy is increased by as much as 30-percent. Other advantages include very little NOx emissions, and low installation costs. The biggest issue, of course, is the lack of hydrogen-fueling stations.

The technology was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with ArvinMeritor and IAV currently developing it. An SUV is being equipped with the engine for trials, with the first production vehicle planned for delivery by 2010.

More details on the hydrogen-boosted system can be found at the link.

[Sources: Consumer Guide, ArvinMeritor]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Just imagine what kind of progress we would have if the self proclaimed energy companies - that is what BP is casting itself as these days - would spend even 25% of their earnings on alternative R & D. Match that with government tax breaks for those research efforts and fast solutions could be had.

      • 9 Years Ago
      Electrolysis should be the best way to go. You can 2 byproducts from distilled water, hydrogen and oxygen. Expelled the oxygen and use the hydrogen in the injection into the engine.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "The biggest issue, of course, is the lack of hydrogen-fueling stations."

      No...The biggest issue is that presently all commercial H2 is derived from...natural gas or gasoline. Until there is a cheap and efficient way to obtain H2 in pure form, this is the biggest pipe dream ever heisted on the consumer. Right up there with fuel cells.

      There are several ways to obtain H2 and most involve electric power. Electric power can be generated several ways - we all know that - natural gas, oil, coal, hydro, nuclear all come to mind. With demand continuing to rise for electricity and ALL new power plants being fired by natural gas (one new coal fired plant in MO recently on line and one more somewhere under construction). There is not enough excess power available from nuclear (none built in how many years?) or hydro power (most all dams that can be built, have been built and the environmentalist are attempting to drain and knock down at least one) to make any reasonable amount of H2? So current electrical generating plants can't make a meaningful contribution - even at night. Windmills would probably be the most efficient and acceptable way, but not even close in numbers to meet foreseeable demand. Windmills are soon going to be over the "gee, those are neat" phase and the environmentalists (Kennedy and Cronkite come to mind) will halt too much further construction. BTW, in case you think I'm anti environmentalist, I've got a M.S. in Ecology. Just trying to keep it real here.

      H2 can be obtained directly from oil or natural gas also. Got two words for that: felony stupid.

      There are a lot of very smart people that read Autoblog. Please wade in and tell me how wrong I am. In this case I want to be wrong. I hope we can magically throw a switch and get all the H2 we want, maybe it could even be done almost for free. In the meantime developing the use first before the supply is not going to drive cheap production as it presently exists.
      • 9 Years Ago
      JIm - A lot of people are always extolling the virtues of "renewable biofuels" yet few of them realize that hydrogen itself is actually a renewable biofuel. There was an article a while back about using genetically-modified algae to produce hydrogen. Just as with other biofuels, the energy to create the hydrogen ultimately comes from the sun.

      Additionally, ammonia (NH3) can be decomposed into H2 and inert N2 by way of well-understood catalysts. And what do you think fish excrete into the water all the time?

      RE: the actual article. sounds cool, i'd def install it if it wouldn't melt the engine.
      • 9 Years Ago
      for some reason my URLs didn't copy. The first one is www dot hydrogen-boost dot com. The second one is www dot ihsresearch dot com slash h2n-gen.php. Why did it erase my URLs??


      • 9 Years Ago
      Did anyone actually read the article before posting??

      This system is NOT reliant on external hydrogen fuelling.

      It produces its own hydrogen on board from gasoline. The gas is decomposed (using the patented system from ArvinMeritor) into H2 and CO. This gas stream is then fed into the air intake of your engine, where it imrproves combustion efficiency and allows an otherwise unaltered gasoline to run in lean burn configuration, thus giving you a more efficient powertrain.

      The system doesn't produce much H2+CO compared to the total volume of fuel consumed by the engine, but think of it as an fuel ignition enhancing system.


      PS I'm not in any way affiliated with ArvinMeritor etc blah, blah....
      • 9 Years Ago

      By that time it will be old hat...

      Auto makers need to pull their heads out of their asses...! Shame on you for not following the rest of the world in technology...All they seem to do is try to make a futuristic looking car with old technology!

      How about making the future instead???

      It drives me crazy that we are still stuck with the same old internal combustion crap that came out in the 50's (a small block chevy is still a small block chevy)
      • 9 Years Ago
      I'd like to add my 2 cents in...Their is an extremely safe, economical and existing alternative for anyone to utilize Hydrogen "Supplementation" to your current "Primary Fuel" (gas or diesel) that can be generated "On Demand" using electrolysis.

      This small unit generates "supplemental hydrogen" ONLY while your vehicle is running (so their is NO STORED Hydrogen-VERY SAFE) and is Quick & Easy to install...it only takes about 2 - 3 hours to install and DOES NOT modify your engine in ANY WAY, so it WILL NOT VOID A NEW CAR WARRANTY.

      Average savings are about 21% on fuel economy, and it LOWERS NOX, CO and CO2 dramatically (30 - 40%)

      It converts common tap water "on demand" to Hydrogen and is delivered very simply to your "Air Intake", so it will work on ANY internal combustion engine, modern fuel injection controled by computer or old Carberators, because the "supplemental hydrogen" is delivered into the air intake where it mixes with the air before entering the cylinders, once it mixes in the Cylinder with the "Primary Fuel", it acts as a Catalyst or Perfect Combustable that enhances "Burn Rate", assisting the "primary fuel" to achieve closer to maximum combustion. Thus, greater stroke, which achieves more CFM through the engine, allowing better ventilation, which lowers cylinder, head, piston and engine temps. Greater Horsepower is delivered through greater stroke...and of course, carbon deposits and emmissions are thereby reduced as well due to the hydrogen assisting the "primary fuel" achieving a more complete combustion.

      Although this is my website, I am not trying to sell anyone. I got involved with designing, manufacturing and marketing this unit because I DO CARE about the FUTURE of our children and the planet we will create for them! I am worried like so many others of the TOTAL LACK of good stewardship that our government and corprate leadership have thus far provided in the realm of designing our Society and LOCKING it into Fuel Sources that are DESTROYING this planet both ecologically through pollution and ECONOMICALLY in terms of RESOURCE WARS that are robbing us of our childrens lives and devastating WHOLE COUNTRIES!

      I just want to educate people to Hydrogen and the Bright Future it would hold for us only if we would DEMAND IT!

      My little HydroGen unit is merely to educate people to the WONDERFUL POTENTIAL that Hydrogen makes possible...

      I know there will be some who will still probably say that I am motivated to post here purely for the $$$, even after that disclaimer above, where I said I am posting this for educational benefits...well, what can I say, some people will ALWAYS be skeptical, that's ok too...I just wished we would have had a whole hell of alot more of them skeptics around in the '00 & '04 elections that would have asked more questions.

      Anyway, for those of you who won't accuse me of profiteering or abusing this blog for my personal gain, I invite you to visit my humble abode @ http://www.hydrofuelsaver.ws

      I would also like to make the group aware of a site that does not belong to me and is an incredible store of information regarding the "Hydrogen Economy"! It's here @ http://www.thephoenixproject.org


      • 9 Years Ago

      I completely disagree with your assessment of hydrogen powerered vehicles.

      "No...The biggest issue is that presently all commercial H2 is derived from...natural gas or gasoline. Until there is a cheap and efficient way to obtain H2 in pure form, this is the biggest pipe dream ever heisted on the consumer. Right up there with fuel cells."

      These problems have already been solved. Hydrogen can be produced onboard on the vehicle itself by elctrolysis. The big corporations don't really want to opt for this design as they would prefer to control the hydrogen distribution system in much the same way as the Corporate World controls PETROLEUM.

      You don't need natural gas or petroleum to make hydrogen. All you need to make Hydrogen is distilled water, and some efficient electrolysis. You could still have a distribution system to extend the range of the vehicle if you want, but it isn't necessary. There are some test vehicles now that can travel 100 miles on just 4 oz of water. Not 4 gallons, 4 oz. There is no need for a hydrogen distribution system controlled by corporate greed. Anyone can sell distilled water without a license anywhere in the world.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Living in the southwest I would use the sun and solar panels and water and a hydrolysis machine to get all the hydrogen I could use. What I am looking for is a way of converting my van to run on hydrogen that I would get from the above.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Why not just try the electrolysis solution, creating small amounts of hydrogen for a cleaner burn from water? Just refill with water, available now:

      and not in production yet,