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AMAP Test Hydrogen-Fuelled Prototype Car

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 10.28.51Hydrogen fuelled cars have quickly progressed from drawing board to test track, through a European funded research program supported by a team of top engineers at AMAP.

The University of Sunderland’s Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) has created a prototype car – with an engine adapted to mix hydrogen with traditional fuel to demonstrate the technology in practice as part of an EU project with Gateshead College.

The purpose of AMAP’s research is to reduce the damage caused by fossil fuels in automotives, with their harmful impact on health and the environment. Early findings of the hydrogen-fuelled vehicle in action have revealed reductions in environmental impact and improvements in fuel economy.

Research results will be shared at the HyTrEc Conference in Aberdeen on 20 and 21 May 2015. HyTrEc – which stands for Hydrogen Transport Economy for the North Sea Region – has arranged the conference to mark the projects’ conclusion.

Over the two days delegates from industry, government, public sector and academia will meet to network and discuss the next steps for the sector. Delegates will include project partners and organisations such as Hyundai UK, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, UK H2 Mobility and the German National Hydrogen Organisation (NOW Gmbh).

AMAP’s petrol/hydrogen hybrid will be one of several hydrogen vehicles on show, with others including a fuel cell range extended electric van. For the test AMAP adapted a 1.6 litre petrol engine Nissan Qashqai, with 5 speed Manual Transmission, to mix hydrogen with petrol in varying amounts.

The demonstrator vehicle was set up and calibrated before being tested on Gateshead College’s Zero Carbon Futures (ZCF) Performance Test Track. This allowed the team to evaluate different hydrogen mixes and select the most suitable ones for emissions testing. During these tests the vehicle was subjected to hill starts and high speed running.

With the road evaluation complete the vehicle was transported to ZCF’s Automotive Centre of Excellence and placed on a rolling road for emissions testing using a standard MOT exhaust analyser. The team observed exciting and potentially very beneficial emission improvements when comparing oil samples taken before and after the tests.

AMAP’s research estimated that mixing 32% to 50% hydrogen into a petrol fuel will reduce CO2 29% by volume, CO 75% by volume and hydrocarbons by 52%.

Additionally, the team’s findings suggest that adding Hydrogen to the fuel mix increases fuel range from 42 mpg to 57mpg. This is based on travelling 208 miles from 16.25 litres, giving a range of 823 miles per tank of petrol.

Dirk Kok, Research Fellow at AMAP and project lead technologist commented: “We estimated the range of the hydrogen tank in the demonstrator vehicle to be 120 miles with a 50/50 petrol / hydrogen mix, which is more than enough to carry out deliveries around a city during one day.

“Mixing hydrogen into the fuel stream dramatically improves emissions performance and range per tank of fuel. This is important not only for environmental reasons but because this element of the fuel stream is the most heavily taxed.

“Adding more hydrogen into the fuel stream may not improve matters further and indeed the optimum may be around 35% to 40%. More testing will be required to establish this.

Roger O’Brien, Director of AMAP at the University of Sunderland added: “The relatively low cost of the conversion suggests that this may prove a viable option for cleaning up petrol tailpipe emissions. We are considering combining this with other technologies in future to provide for methods of switching to lower emission regimes in urban and city centre areas -where stop-start driving is even more polluting. There are still infrastructure issues of course, but for fleet operators, who are doing routes from a central hub or depot, the technology we have used could be a deployable solution very quickly and easily.

“Oil and gas are dominant fuels in the energy and transport sectors, benefiting from regular investment in research and development. Funding to research and test alternative solutions, particularly hydrogen is scarcer, despite its potential economic and environmental benefits. There is still a long way to go to bring about such changes to the vehicles we all drive, and another project we are working on with EU partners called Hyacinth is looking at social acceptability of some of these new technologies. It is an area AMAP is heavily involved in.

“With funding from the HyTrEc project, Dirk and our team at AMAP were able to develop and test a mixed fuel hydrogen demonstrator vehicle, as part of a work package managed via Gateshead College Zero Carbon Futures centre. This is exactly the type of game-changing work that we are capable of at AMAP, researching the next generation technology to advance manufacturing, in the North East region and beyond.”

A film of the test drive is viewable via this link: https://youtu.be/kWeASmqq_d4?t=50s

By admin