The Hythane Company is beginning demonstrations of its low-emission hydrogen-compressed natural gas fuel system in support of a major bus conversion project in China. Hythane (generically called HCNG: hydrogen-CNG) is essentially CNG mixed with a small percentage of hydrogen (usually about 7% by energy or 20% by volume), and was developed by Hydrogen Components in the US.
In October 2004, Brehon Energy entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with four leading Chinese groups to convert 10,000 diesel buses in five major cities to run on Hythane. (Hythane Company is the technical division and wholly owned subsidiary of Brehon Energy). The project targets the conversion of the 10,000 buses prior to the start of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. (Earlier post.)
The use of a hydrogen-CNG blend can reduce NOx emissions by 95% relative to diesel. In tests between HCNG and CNG engines run by the Center for Transportation Technology and Systems, SunLine Transit Agency (which currently runs two HCNG buses) and Cummins Westport, the HCNG fueled engines reduced NOx emissions by 50%, non-methane hydrocarbons by 58%, methane by 16%, total hydrocarbons by 23% and CO2 by 7%. These reductions were achieved with no significant change in fuel efficiency between the HCNG- and CNG-fueled engines.
Assisting China in developing its transportation and energy strategies is a huge opportunity for the company. The initial test phase over the next six to nine months will help set the stage for large-scale market rollout.—Roger Marmaro, Hythane Company president
This may be the world’s first use of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel on a massive scale.—Frank Lynch, company founder, co-inventor of Hythane (with Marmaro)
Other parties to the memos of understanding include the China Association for Hydrogen Energy, the China Electronic Engineering Design Institute, Tsinghua University, and the Shougang Technology Research Institute.