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Quantum to Provide 15 Hydrogen-Fueled Hybrids to Norway

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has received a purchase order for 15 hydrogen-fueled Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles from Miljobil Grenland AS, a participant and vehicle provider to the Norwegian Hydrogen Highway (HyNor). (Earlier post.) These hydrogen hybrid vehicles will be put in service in Norway in 2006 and 2007 as part of the HyNor program.

The hydrogen Priuses to be delivered to Norway will be based on Quantum’s hydrogen hybrid vehicles currently operating in California. (Earlier post.)

Quantum recently delivered 30 hydrogen Priuses to municipal fleets in Southern California. Quantum optimized the performance of the hydrogen vehicle system, completed accelerated long-term durability testing, and performed crash testing, to verify the design of the vehicles.

Quantum subjected the final design to extensive system optimization and vehicle verification testing to ensure super ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV) emissions performance, driveability, durability, and crash survivability of the hydrogen Priuses. Quantum will also complete analysis and verification of the hydrogen hybrid vehicles to meet Norwegian Department of Transportation requirements.

HyNor is a Norwegian joint public/private partnership initiative to demonstrate real life implementation of a hydrogen-energy infrastructure along a route of 580 kilometers (360 miles) from Oslo to Stavanger during the years 2005 to 2008.

The project comprises all steps required to develop a hydrogen infrastructure and includes various hydrogen production technologies and uses of hydrogen, in all cases with an adaptation to local conditions. The overall objectives of the HyNor project are to demonstrate the commercial viability of hydrogen energy production, hydrogen’s use in the transportation sector, and the development of a hydrogen infrastructure.

HyNor will address various means of transportation, including buses, taxis, and private cars, and various transportation systems, including urban, inter-city, regional, and long national transports. The project will connect various activities and cities in a common network along one of the major national transport corridors, between the capital Oslo and Stavanger, the major oil and energy city in Western Norway.

We see this as a new and interesting segment of zero emission technology for the transportation sector, that complements our activities on electric cars.

—Bjorn Nenseth, Managing Director of Miljobil Grenland



"With the standard storage option (1.6 kg), the H2 Prius will have an effective hydrogen-fueled range of about 80 miles. The extended range storage could kick that up to approximately 120 miles.

Roger Pham

Good question. It all depends on the fuel efficiency of the Prius and the energy density of compressed hydrogen at a practical pressure of 5000 psi. Let's say that the Prius is twice as efficient as a comparable non-hybrid car, and that energy density of compressed hydrogen is 1/3 that of gasoline, then the H2-powered Prius should have 2/3 the range of a conventional Prius if the H2-powered Prius has H2 tank of the same volume as the gasoline tank. However, Hydrogen may combust more completely at ultra-lean part-throttle operation (cruise mode) than gasoline, thus enhancing the efficiency in comparison to gasoline by 20-30%. AND compressed hydrogen itself contains as much as 1/3 to 1/4 the energy of chemical combustion of hydrogen in the form of pressure energy. If direct fuel injection into the cylinder head is used, this compressed energy will be converted into useful work as extra power beside the combustion process, thus extending the range of the Prius even further, perhaps 25% more than just the chemical energy of hydrogen. So, if you add the two range-extending factors above, the range of the Prius on compressed hydrogen may be comparable to that of an equivalent non-hybrid gasoline car using.
The beauty of IC engine over that of fuelcell is that IC engine can also run on gasoline, thus solving the hydrogen-filling infrastructure problem, and acting as a bridge toward a hydrogen economy. For in-town driving, hydrogen may be filled at home or a nearby hydrogen station. On an out-of-town trip, gasoline can be used on a small gasoline tank either strapped-on or built-in. IC engine can utilize the compressed energy of gaseous compressed fuel directly, while fuelcell vehicle will need another expander motor if the compressed energy of gaseous fuel is to be extracted, thus more complication.

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