There’s been a myth running around for years that hydrogen cars run on water. Hydrogen cars, in fact, run on either compressed or liquid hydrogen. But, this fact may have just given way to the myth as a company called Hydrogen Power International has stated that they, in fact, are creating a hydrogen vehicle that runs on water. Hydrogen Power has completed phase one of its H2Go program. Phase one involved converting a 2006 Ford Ranger XL truck with internal combustion engine into a hybrid dual-fuel vehicle that is capable of running on either gasoline or hydrogen.
In phase two of the H2Go program, Hydrogen Power will be using both Hydrogen Now technology licensed from the University of British Columbia and AlumiFuel technology to generate hydrogen from water. According to their press release the process involves, “… a chemical reaction between water, aluminum, and an environmentally friendly catalyst to cleanly and efficiently produce hydrogen on-site and on-demand.” The only byproduct of this chemical reaction is aluminum hydroxide, which is non-toxic and recyclable.
I asked John Martin, the Engineering Manager for Hydrogen Power Inc. where the AlumiFuel component receives its energy from to convert the water to hydrogen. Martin replied, “The HPI AlumiFuel technology is a chemical process and is not dependent on an external energy source (in contrast to hydrogen production by electrolysis). We have a minimal power requirement for a small feed water pump and control system, which is commonly supplied parasitically from an integrated fuel cell. In the case of a car, this level of power draw could be easily accommodated by the vehicle battery.”
If phase two of the H2Go program is successful, cost barriers and infrastructure issues will be bypassed since hydrogen will be created from water, on-demand inside each vehicle, without the need for costly hydrogen production, storage and distribution, which has been seen as the major stumbling-block in getting hydrogen cars on the road.
Look for many eyes to be on this project in the months to come, as a single invention such as this could have vast repercussions throughout the hydrogen car and hydrogen infrastructure industry. Perhaps one day the myth will become a reality and you can say to the fueling station attendant, “Filler up with Evian, please.”