|Hydrogen shuttles for the Senate.|
Ford of Canada recently became the first automaker to deliver hydrogen-fueled vehicles for fleet use in Canada. Three Canadian-made hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine-powered shuttle buses are replacing gasoline-powered buses used by the Senate of Canada in Ottawa.
In addition, Ford of Canada is preparing seven more hydrogen shuttle buses for use in other regions of Canada. Ford announced the development of its H2ICE Shuttle Bus—based on an E-450 chassis cab and powered by a modified 6.8-liter V-10 Triton engine—in 2004. Eight H2ICE E-450 shuttles are going into service in Florida. (Earlier post.)
Industry Canada has invested C$4.2 million (US$3.6 million) toward the hydrogen internal combustion engine Shuttle Bus Demonstration Project. The government’s contribution under Industry Canada’s Hydrogen Early Adopters (h2EA) program is part of an C$8.5-million project being undertaken by Ford of Canada in partnership with ATFCAN, a not-for-profit group, to demonstrate the operation of hydrogen-powered shuttle buses in real-world conditions.
Five firms in four provinces were involved in the development, testing and production of the hydrogen internal combustion engine bus.
- 350 bar (5000 psi) storage tanks were made by Calgary’s Dynetek Industries
- Cold-weather testing occurred in northern Manitoba
- The 235-horsepower 6.8-liter engine was made at Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant in Windsor, Ont.
- The hydrogen fuel will be supplied by Air Liquide of Montreal
- Bus bodies are made by Les Entreprises Michel Corbeil of St.-Lin-Laurentides, Quebec.
Specialized components in the engine include:
Special hardened materials for valves and valve seats compensate for hydrogen’s reduced lubricating properties compared to gasoline or natural gas.
Iridium-tipped spark plugs allow for increased spark plug life.
High-energy coil-on-plug ignition coils to manage unique ignition characteristics.
Fuel injectors designed specifically for hydrogen and high-volume fuel rails.
Crank damper tuned for hydrogen fuel to ensure smooth operation.
High output designs for pistons, connecting rods and piston rings to accommodate the higher combustion pressure of hydrogen combustion.
Head gasket accommodates increased combustion chamber pressures.
3.3L/rev twin screw supercharger and water-to-air intercooler added to improve power output and maximize efficiency.
All-new intake manifold to accommodate twin screw supercharger and water-to-air intercooler.
Full-synthetic formulation engine oil developed in partnership with BP/Castrol optimized for hydrogen combustion properties.
The engine runs with a compression ratio of 9.4:1 and develops 235 hp (175 kW) @ 4,000 rpm. Torque is 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) @ 3,000 rpm.
While the hydrogen internal combustion engine shuttle buses will provide valuable real-world experience, 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 also has a fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus fuel cell vehicles on the road—including five throughout British Columbia—as part of a worldwide, seven-city program to conduct real world testing of fuel cell technology. The 30-car fleet has accumulated nearly 580,000 km since its inception.
Ford of Canada also offers the gasoline-electric Escape Hybrid and expects to also offer hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion in 2008.