In May 2008, I had talked about how ITM Power and Roush Technologies were teaming up to put hydrogen powered cars on the road. The idea behind the agreement is that ITM Power would build the home hydrogen refueling stations and Roush would retrofit vehicles with internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen.
In July 2008, ITM Power unveiled its home hydrogen fueling station that is capable of using either grid power or renewables to cheaply produce compressed hydrogen gas from water. With ITM Power’s proprietary process, hydrogen can be made cost-effectively without the used of expensive platinum.
Now, this month, Roush and ITM Power are giving curious types a peek at the hydrogen vehicles they have retrofitted to run on hydrogen. The United Kingdom’s Liberal Democrat leaders Nick Clegg MP and Vince Cable MP are two VIPs that are among the notables to take a test drive of a Ford Focus converted to run on either hydrogen or gasoline as a bi-fuel vehicle. The Ford Focus can run the first 25 miles on hydrogen alone (which is more than the average driver drives in a day) before switching over to gasoline-power.
The two took a tour from ITM Power’s Sheffield factory to a demonstration hydrogen home where everything from the stove to the television set runs off hydrogen power. Sticking with Ford as its brand, Roush has also decided to show off a recently converted bi-fuel delivery van that can run off either gasoline or compressed hydrogen gas.
If hydrogen solely is used the Ford van has a range of around 135 miles on the highway. A belt-driven supercharger with intercooler was added to the Ford 2.3-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine. Three 5,000 psi hydrogen tanks are stored below the floor of the vehicle.
Now, its not unusual that a car company and a fuel company would team up for such an endeavor. The major U. S. car companies and big oil companies have teamed up for years as partners. What is unusual, however, is that two relatively smaller companies would team up and produce results like this quickly, beating out much larger players in the field.
ITM Power has a couple of PDF files on their site that are excellent reads. The first talks about the company’s background and breakthroughs and the second mentions a couple of glowing reports and awards for the company.