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Hydrogen Engine Center Focuses on Industrial and Power Engine Applications

The 4.98-liter hydrogen engine.

An Iowa-based engine developer—Hydrogen Engine Center—is seeking to expand its role in the industrial (e.g., ground support equipment) and power generation engine market with a set of internal combustion engines designed for use with hydrogen and other alternative fuels.

The company’s founder, Ted Hollinger, believes that HEC can fill the void left in those markets when large automotive companies re-focused their efforts to concentrate on vehicle engines.

Hollinger was formerly Director of Power Conversion for the Ecostar Division of Ford Motor Company and formerly Power Conversion Group Vice President of Ballard Power Systems, responsible for development of hydrogen engine gensets.

HEC has just hired Robert Mendlesky, who had been involved in the H2ICE efforts as Ford, as Director of Engineering for HEC, and responsible for growing the company’s engine applications capabilities and advising the engine design group.

The company’s basic product is a rebuilt Ford 4.98-liter six-cylinder engine that is hydrogen-ready and can also run—after minor adjustments—propane, methane, ethanol (and gasoline).

The in-line six hydrogen engine comes with two power outputs: 74 hp (55 kW) and 99 hp (74 kW), with torque of 179 Nm and 195 Nm, respectively. HEC calls the latter engine, tuned for extra power, its “Kyoto” model.

The basis of the engine’s flexibility is the engine management control unit.

Hydrogen Engine Center engines have been run on many fuels, and we have done a demonstration showing the engine’s ability to use more than one fuel, and we did throw a switch to change from hydrogen to liquid propane. Of course, we had the MAP [the table that contains information relating to the fuel] for both fuels loaded in the engine controller at the time. Also, both fuels are what is known as dry fuels and were able to use the same induction system and injectors.

In general, purchasers of our engines choose one fuel and that is the MAP we load into the controller. Should the purchaser later decide to use a different fuel, we generally would recommend a change in the fuel system for the engine, including a controller with the proper MAP loaded.

—Tom Daly, HEC

The company expects it will be able to produce about 4,000 engines per year once it completes a move into larger facilities.



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