|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.