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Ford Begins Production of V-10 Hydrogen-Fueled Engines

The Ford Hydrogen V-10.

Ford has kicked off production of its dedicated hydrogen-fueled 6.8-liter V-10 engines, making it the first automaker in the world to do so. The engine is based on the same modular engine series that powers many Ford products, but is specially prepared to burn hydrogen as a fuel.

The supercharged V-10 engine will power Ford’s E-450 hydrogen fueled shuttle buses. The buses are scheduled to be delivered to fleet customers later this year, first in Florida and then in other locations across North America. (Earlier post.)

The hydrogen V-10 produces 235 hp (175 kW) of power and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque. Specialized components in the engine include:

  • Valves and valve seats. Special hardened materials are used to compensate for hydrogen’s reduced lubricating properties compared to gasoline or natural gas.

  • Spark plugs. Iridium-tipped plugs allow for increased spark plug life.

  • Ignition coils. High-energy coil-on-plug coils manage unique ignition characteristics.

  • Fuel injectors and fuel rail. Fuel injectors designed specifically for hydrogen and high volume fuel rails.

  • Crank damper. Tuned for hydrogen fuel to ensure smooth operation.

  • Pistons, connecting rods and piston rings. High-output designs to accommodate the higher combustion pressure of hydrogen combustion.

  • Head gasket. Accommodates increased combustion chamber pressures.

  • Intake manifold. All-new to accommodate twin screw supercharger and water-to-air intercooler.

  • Twin screw supercharger and water-to-air intercooler. Added to improve power output and maximize efficiency.

  • Engine oil. Full-synthetic formulation developed in partnership with BP/Castrol optimized for hydrogen combustion properties.

Ford is also conducting research into next-generation hydrogen internal combustion engines, including features such as direct injection to enhance power and fuel economy.

We have only scratched the surface in terms of what can be achieved with hydrogen internal combustion engine technology and are serious about maintaining our edge in this field.

—Vance Zanardelli, chief engineer, Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines, Ford Motor Company

Ford’s first hydrogen internal combustion engine demonstration vehicle, released in 2001, was based on a lightweight aluminum sedan body, which also was used in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology. Subsequent projects included the Model U concept, first showcased at the 2003 North American International Auto Show, several Focus based demonstration vehicles, a V-6 powered tractor in use at Orlando International Airport as well as two hybridized transit buses.

At the 2006 North American International Auto Show, Ford displayed the Super Chief Concept, which demonstrated Tri-Flex technology, which allows a vehicle to run on hydrogen, E-85 ethanol or gasoline. (Earlier post.)

Ford partner Mazda recently delivered its RX-8 Hydrogen RE to its first two corporate customers. These vehicles, equipped with a rotary engine, feature a dual-fuel system that allows the driver to select either hydrogen or gasoline with the flick of a switch.

Additionally, the company also has a fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus fuel cell vehicles on the road as part of a worldwide, seven-city program to conduct real world testing of fuel cell technology. The 30-car fleet has accumulated more than 240,000 miles since its inception.



Hydrogen internal combustion is questionable, but when the H2 comes from a natural-gas source, H2 IC becomes pure evil.


So if hidrogen is pure evil, what is gasoline?


I have no faith that H2 in internal combustion engines is leading anywhere. But results will decide, not opinion.

These heavily subsidized ventures will run as long as money is available. And government seems to be willing to fund endlessly. The real benefit is the knowledge engineers and management gain rather than the buses, etc. themselves.

And they are superb photo ops and free advertising for local office holders. Core downtown businesses get a boost from the transit which everyone else must pay for. More public employees are needed at higher salaries. So who can be against it?


"So if hidrogen is pure evil, what is gasoline?"

I snagged a table of "well to wheel" efficiencies. It's a bit thick, but look at "G-H2" for gaseous H2, and "L-H2" for liquid H2, and then follow across to "SI-ICE" for internal combustion

We start with conventional cars getting a well-to-wheels efficiency of 12.4%. The diesel engines traditionally used in those shuttle buses are at 15.5% ... these H2-ICE clowns are doing a natural gas process where no one can see it, and dragging well-to-wheels efficiency down to 6.4-9.2%

If you want to burn that good clean natural gas, do it in a natural gas ICE at 12.7-12.9% efficiency.


If you want to read the full report containing that table, more here:


I think part of the idea with H2 ICEs is that it is supposed to be a transition technology that will make it easier to get to the fuel cell "hydrogen highway". If it does the job then good, as long as it is only transitory.


Along the same lines as marcus' thoughts: This also gives them a chance to start mass producing components such as the storage tanks without a full H2 fuel cell drivetrain. I don't think Hydrogen is a good direction to go in but I'm just an observer.


Well IF you assume we will be able to grow a ZILLION tons of fuel crops 30-50 years from now then no h2 isnt the way to go. If on the other and you think the world is going down the crapper but the wind and the sun and nuke energy will still all work 50 years from now.. h2 will prolly be vital to fill in the gap between what we can grow and what we need and want.


All mentioned alterations to the engine could be done by regular performance garage for about 20K, including chip remapping, dyno tuning, engine rebuild, supercharger addition, even gas injection system.

Supercharged SI engine is idiocy by itself, as is V10 configuration. Good match to the H2 IC idea. No wonder that Ford is doing even worse then GM, their shares are junk, and company is cost 12B – ten times less then, say, Google.

tom deplume

I believe zinc-air fuel cells are going to sneak past hydrogen in the marketplace first with fleets to produce an electrowinning and distribution infrastructure followed by aftermarket conversions of personal cars. The laws of physics are against hydrogen as a transportation fuel particularly its low energy density.


I have read a little about zinc-air fuel cells, but there is not a lot of information on them. The little bit of information I did find looked promising, but not much is being published.


I'd love to see zinc-air get a toehold.  Especially because zinc oxide can be reduced to metal in so many different ways, making "motor fuel" out of energy supplies as diverse as PV panels and charcoal.

hampden wireless

The only way hydrogen can work in at such a low efficiency level is if it comes from nuclear. Any other way and you should just burn gas, natural gas or diesel in a standard configuration. For Co2 output natural gas to hydrogen sucks.


I heard that burn hydrogen in ICE will make the ICE more efficient as the engine is tuned to fit hydrogen properties of faster flame speed higher octane etc. How true is this claim?


What if this isn't a tansitional technology. What if it is just a way to prolong and feed the hydrogen lobby?

In my not so humble opinion, you have to prove efficient, reliable, and affordable H2 FC, and then you get to build infrastructure. Anything else is ... can I say "evil?" I've already used that one.

allen Z

Barring most other arguments, Gasoline has an aenergy balance of ~0.8. H2 has a worse (0.6) energy balance. It also has a lower energy density. Go biodiesel, or butanol/biodiesel combo.

John Baldwin

Makes you think about the announcement of Ford funding into more efficient vehicles etc, announced yesterday. Launching a H2 ICE is a sign that they really have lost the plot and have no appreciation of the value of energy both in financial and global warming terms. Utter madness. No wonder Ford are going broke. Take a look at Germany were vehicles run on CNG, giving great well to wheels performance...
Visit this website to see the prog for a conf in September on'll be amazed at the rapid progress

Rafael Seidl

Gents -

you are forgetting that volume carmakers are not pursuing hydrogen-powered vehicles of their own volition. The lawmakers and (nuclear) lobbyists behind California ARB are forcing them to do so TODAY, as part of the ZEV mandate (which applies to approx. 1/3 of the US LDV market). It's a legal hoop the auto industry has to jump through, regardless of whether it makes any rational sense at all. Franz Kafka would no doubt have approved.

Proton exchange fuel cells simply aren't going to be affordable or reliable enough anytime soon. Note that the taxpayer does not cover all costs associated with H2 programs, far from it. Of the alternatives available to carmakers, converting ICEs to H2 fuel simply incurs the least R&D and production overheads. It is called "cutting your losses".

Of course, no corporation will ever admit that it's doing something against it's better judgment. That's why they have their marketing departments put lipstick on these piggies, hence the talk of "stepping stones" to fuel cells etc.


Wow, 235 hp from a SC 6.8 - hydrogen must be a great fuel.

Look at the efficiencies that odograph posted folks, this is yet another way for people to take government subsidies while claiming to be green.

Convert the engine to run on CNG (or even better biogas) and you will have a much cleaner engine, all things considered.


Rafael, I'd say that the California air resources board has been taken over by the hydrogen lobby. It's one of those industry, lobbyist, government, feedback loops.

I think it's a mischaracterization to say it is "environmentalists". They might have helped create the framework way back, but it's being gamed now, like much government spending.

(I had a sneaky suspicious about the California board based on their published comments, but the movie "Who Killed The Electric Car" drove it home pretty hard.)

Roger Pham

What lobbying group do you represent? Some of your numbers at are PLAIN WRONG.
The number 14.9% for gasoline engine (SI-ICE) carbureted engine, low-compression muscle family sedan of the 60's. With port fuel injection and higher compression modern engine, efficiency should be 18-20% for combined driving, at least. For a modern gasoline cars (SI-ICE) the Prius II is capable of 37% tank-to-wheel efficiency. Adding to this the efficiency enhancement of H2 fuel due to higher compression ratio and direct injection and near isochoric combustion process, and the tank-to-wheel efficiency will climb to ~45%.

It is simply disengenous to assign the efficiency of engine technology of the 60's to the ultra-modern fuel of the future such as H2.

Also, no one is so stupid as to make H2 out of a perfectly good and clean fuel such as methane (Natural gas), and suffering from conversion loss. H2-ICE car can be tuned to run on Methane also, stored in the same compressed tank as H2 would be, and having 3 -1/2 times farther range in comparison with H2 stored at the same pressure. NONE OF THE CARBON-BASED FUEL SOURCES SHOULD BE CONVERTED TO H2, and expect any kind efficiency out of it. Hydrocarbon fuels, either fossil or biofuel, are simply too valuable due to their high energy density and easy of storage. But, if one must someday rely on solar, wind, and nuclear energy to produce a source of combustible fuel, then H2 WILL BE THE MOST ENERGY-EFFICIENT FUEL FOR THE ENERGY INPUT.

Imagine this, Odograph: Driving a 45%-efficient ICE-hybrid car using H2 produced from solar energy locally at 45% efficiency, or running your battery-electric car at 70% efficiency from concentrated solar PV at 30% efficiency, which is more efficient? Ans: BOTH ARE EQUALLY EFFICIENT!
Roger Pham



Agree on both your points.

Without overcoming technical problems move to build infrastructure (H2 cars) and trying to rush to mass production (EV1) is questionable at least.

CARB lost a lot of their credibility when decided to overstep their Clean Air Act mandate and stepped into GHG emission mess. I see clear politisation of this otherwise high-regarded agency.


Roger P. your 10.08,

You may be comparing apples to oranges. But I am not sure from you text following "Imagine this".

Why is the H2 from solar energy produced at 45% efficency while the electricity for the battery-electric is produced at 30%?

If both vehicles are ultimately powered from solar the cells should have the same efficiency and no bearing on the discussion.

Alternatively, you may have meant that the H2 generation step will be 45% efficient but only 30% of the generated electric power will end up available in the electric car batteries.

For the alternative interpretation I believe you have understated the 30%. PV DC conversion to AC is quite efficient as is AC transmission to the home for charging the batteries.

If our H2 is to be home generated that requires rather complex equipment and storage. If it is to be sold at stations (as we now get gasoline) then the costs of transport and storage must be added in.

Distribution of electricity to homes for electric cars requires almost no added equipment. Indeed, if the car itself carries the charger then nothing new is needed.

H2 doesn't compute for me yet. I do believe electric vehicles will be practical soon. Anyway, I have composed my questions about efficiencies and look forward to a clarification.

Roger Pham

Regarding efficiency of H2 production from heat sources such as solar or high-temp nuclear reactor, check on this link: (type this on the address box of your browser)

Very simple, K, concentrated solar PV is 30% efficient for electrical generation. Use a prism to split up the solar spectrum to produce heat band and light band. Use the light band to power PV at 30% efficiency. Use the solar heat band of the spectrum to heat up your solid oxide electrolyzer to 850 degrees C. With high temp, the electrical energy required to electrolyze water (steam) is reduced to half, because the thermal energy supply the rest of the energy for lysis of water.

For now, use H2 produced locally (intra-city), and transported it in local dedicated H2 pipeline. In the future, H2 may be transported long-distance via liquid H2 and superconducting electrical pipeline combined. Look into the July edition of Scientific American. (

With BEV, you'll have the problem of excessive weight and bulk of the battery taking away your trunk space. The huge expense of batttery and durability is still a big question. In cold weather, you'll lose a huge proportion of battery capacity.


Roger. You explained it well. But if the H2 process can use the heat band to aid H2 efficiency then why can't the same heat band be used to generate power for the electric side? Wouldn't that add to the 30%?

I sense there my be something wrong with my interpretation. Maybe you see it.

Your efficiency # is really what I am trying to grasp. What follows is just a observation about something else you said.

For twenty years or so superconducting has been flunking out for serious electric power transmission. Maybe that can be remedied with all the liquid H2. I doubt H2 will be so readily piped a few miles or hundreds of miles.

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