Westport and Ford to Develop Hydrogen Engine

An advanced direct injection fuel system for vehicles powered by high-efficiency, high-performance engines operating on pure hydrogen is being developed in two phases by Westport Innovations and Ford Motor Co.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will be teaming with Westport and Ford to further development of Westport’s hydrogen direct injection (H2DI) technology, according to Michael Gallagher, Westport President and COO. The Government of Canada has contributed $250,000 for the first phase, which will define advanced fuel system requirements — including the design of fuel injectors. Phase two will incorporate the design and manufacture of new prototype fuel systems. Gallagher said that Westport’s H2DI technology has been in testing at Ford, and has shown the potential to provide high power and engine torque with diesel-like efficiency and very low emissions. “Early data indicates the strong potential for a truly green vehicle combining great efficiency characteristics with extremely low air pollutants and zero greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe,” Gallagher said. “This technology has the potential to be commercially available a lot sooner and more cost-effectively than other hydrogen automotive technologies.” The development work for the next-generation hydrogen engine program will take place in Westport’s technology center in Vancouver, Ford’s test facilities in Dearborn, Michigan and the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. PNNL will participate in the development program under funding already allocated by DOE’s FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program. PNNL research will focus on modeling the effects of hydrogen on component performance with the goal of extending the life of injection components so that no maintenance is required in the normal life of the engine. The development of a practical fuel injection system for hydrogen is a key objective to Ford’s strategy in making low-cost hydrogen internal combustion engine technology commercially available to the market within the next few years. Westport has technology development alliances in place with Cummins, Cummins Westport Inc., which manufactures and sells a wide range of low-emissions alternative fuel engines for commercial transportation applications such as trucks and buses.