Hydrogen fuel injection has been a topic of intense debate. Critics say that since they can’t wrap their heads around how it works, this means it simply can’t work. But, hydrogen generators for cars and trucks do work and the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) acknowledged this fact a year ago.
In November 2007, the U. S. DOT, published a 94-page report titled, “GUIDELINES FOR USE OF HYDROGEN FUEL IN COMMERCIAL VEHICLES Final Report” that was targeted towards safety issues surround handling hydrogen. The report also focuses on diesel trucks more than gasoline-powered cars and covers hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, internal combustion vehicles and hydrogen on demand technology.
Here are some excerpts from the document with the bold and italics added for emphasis:
“Today, virtually all commercial trucks are powered by diesel fuel, while private cars are fueled by gasoline. Supported by our National Energy Policy, a new generation of technologies is currently being developed that allow the use of hydrogen as a fuel to power cars and trucks. In the future, hydrogen may be used in one of three ways to power vehicles:
• To produce electricity in a fuel cell,
• As a replacement for gasoline or diesel fuel in an internal combustion engine, or
• As a supplement to gasoline or diesel fuel used in an internal combustion engine.”
“There are several ways that hydrogen can be used as a motor fuel. It can be used to directly replace gasoline or diesel fuel in specially designed internal combustion engines (ICEs), or it can be used to supplement these typical fuels in existing engines. In either of these cases, the vehicle drive system will be identical to those used on most gasoline-powered or diesel-powered vehicles. The engine will drive the vehicle’s wheels through a transmission, drive shaft, and front or rear axle.”
“Several fuel cell buses have been demonstrated that “reform,” or extract hydrogen from, liquid methanol onboard (Georgetown University, 2003), and there are fuel cell APU systems under development that will derive their hydrogen from onboard reforming of diesel fuel or gasoline (Delphi, 2005). In addition, there are several commercial ‘hydrogen injection’ systems available for retrofit on diesel engines (CHEC, n.d.). These systems produce small amounts of hydrogen by electrolysis of water carried on the vehicle, which is injected into the diesel engine along with the diesel fuel.”
“A hydrogen injection system for a diesel engine produces small amounts of hydrogen and oxygen on demand by electrolyzing water carried onboard the vehicle. The electricity required is supplied by the engine’s alternator or 12/24-volt electrical system (see Section 1.5 for a description of electrolysis). The hydrogen and oxygen are injected into the engine’s air intake manifold, where they mix with the intake air. In theory, the combustion properties of the hydrogen result in more complete combustion of diesel fuel in the engine, reducing tailpipe emissions and improving fuel economy (CHEC, n.d.).”
“A hydrogen injection system for a diesel engine produces and uses significantly less hydrogen than a hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen ICE, and does not require that compressed or liquid hydrogen be carried on the vehicle. The system is designed to produce hydrogen only when required, in response to driver throttle commands. When the system is shut-off, no hydrogen is present on the vehicle.”
“Limited laboratory testing of a hydrogen injection system installed on an older diesel truck engine operated at a series of constant speeds showed a 4 percent reduction in fuel use and a 7 percent reduction in particulate emissions with the system on (ETVC, 2005).”
Hey, DOT, you’ve got some more work to do on this last one. The Canadian Hydrogen Energy Company is guaranteeing a minimum improvement of at least a 10-percent reduction in fuel use with reports of up to 30-percent reduction for some vehicles. In addition, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) reports that Hy-Drive Technologies hydrogen fuel injection systems will reduce fuel consumption 12 to 50-percent over a range of torques.
Even though the U. S. Government has been slow to come around in acknowledging hydrogen gas savers, at least they have taken an important step forward. Validation of this key emerging technology will go a long way towards widespread commercialization and rollout of these aftermarket devices that will save gas, reduce emissions and help us all breathe a little easier.