Ford Motor has introduced a new car with a hydrogen internal combustion engine, which could bridge the gap between gasoline vehicles and fuel cell vehicles of the future.DEARBORN, Michigan, US, 2001-11-29 [SolarAccess.com] The P2000 hydrogen internal combustion engine concept offers lower emission levels and improved engine efficiency. The ease of manufacture and similarity in operation to gasoline products means hydrogen ICEs could be used to encourage growth of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure while the technology for long-term transport solutions, such as hydrogen fuel cells, continues to mature. “Our H2ICE technology could be used to take the chicken out of the chicken and egg debate about which comes first, the hydrogen fueled vehicle or the hydrogen fueling infrastructure,” says Vance Zanardelli of Ford. The P2000 uses a modified version of the Zetec 2.0-liter gasoline engine found in Ford’s Focus, but increases engine efficiency by up to 30 percent over the gasoline counterpart. The vehicle is currently equipped with a conventional fuel storage system containing 87 liters of hydrogen at a pressure of 3,600 PSI for an operating range of 62 miles. Engineers will install an upgraded fuel storage system designed to increase range to 150 miles. Using hydrogen as a fuel, H2ICE emissions are a fraction of those from conventional gasoline engines. There is a small amount of carbon dioxide emissions resulting from engine oil present in the cylinders of modern engines, it would take 300 H2ICE vehicles to emit the same CO2 as one gasoline fueled vehicle. Hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide regulated emissions are one-tenth of SULEV requirements. Nitric oxide regulated emissions are one-fourth of gasoline and, with moderate after-treatment, would certify at SULEV levels as well. “While we still believe fuel cells are the best hope for a zero-emission product to replace the internal combustion engine in the future, the P2000 H2ICE offers a great opportunity to improve hydrogen infrastructure with a vehicle that is comparatively easy to produce and seamless in customer operation,” says John Wallace, executive director of Ford’s TH!NK Group.