With all the publicity about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that has been bandied about in the media, what is often lost in the shuffle is that automobiles with internal combustion engines (ICE) can also be converted to run on hydrogen. A couple of businesses have been quietly converting cars and other vehicles to run on hydrogen for several years now.
Collier Technologies, Incorporated is a 14-year-old firm based in Reno, Nevada and has been a leader in hydrogen and mixed fuel technologies applied to ICE vehicles. Collier Technologies is now working with Penn State University to convert six vans that run on natural gas to run on hydrogen instead. A conversion kit from Collier costs around $15,000.
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has also been busy converting hybrids and other vehicles to run on hydrogen. In fact, Quantum has just shipped 11 converted Toyota Prius hybrids to Norway as part of their HyNor project.
While the popular media is focused primarily upon fuel cell vehicles, there are other companies who are saying “think outside the fuel cell”. Converting a vehicle to run on hydrogen is method for having a hydrogen car now rather than waiting for the price of fuel cells to come down and for the automobile manufacturers to offer them for sale.
Critics say that hydrogen cars are years away. Hydrogen cars are, in fact, here now. But, the problem remains that there is little infrastructure to support such vehicles. This will remain, for some time, the major obstacle in rolling out hydrogen cars to the public, not the cars themselves.