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ECOtality’s eTec Provides Hydrogen ICE Pickup to South Carolina Research Center

The eTec Silverado HICE.

Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec), a wholly owned subsidiary of ECOtality, Inc. is delivering an eTec Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HICE) Silverado truck to the Center for Hydrogen Research (CHR) in Aiken, South Carolina.

Based on a modified 2007 Silverado 1500HD full-size pickup truck with a Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine, the HICE Silverado delivers 146 kW (195 hp) of power with 352 Nm (260 lb-ft) or torque. It has a 147 mile (237 km) city range and 210 mile (339 km) highway range, with a top speed of 100 mph. Fuel consumption is 14 miles (22.5 km)/kg city, 20 mpg (32.3 km)/kg highway.

eTec worked with project partners Roush Industries and Powertech Labs on the conversion. The development program focused on a lean-burn strategy to achieve very low NOx emissions while maintaining acceptable horsepower and torque. eTec integrated a Lysholm supercharger to the intake manifold and a large liquid-to-air intercooler to provide the added air-boost to meet the lean-burn requirement.

Gaseous fuel injectors designed for use with hydrogen are installed on the engine using custom fuel rails with fuel temperature and pressure sensors.

Additional engine modifications include the integration of an OEM electronic throttle and replacement of the standard spark plugs with custom plugs designed to operate in the Hydrogen fuel environment.

eTec removed the OEM Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and replaced it with an aftermarket PCM using eTEc developed engine control strategies for hydrogen lean-burn operation.

Three 150 liter Type 3 tanks mounted in the bed of the pickup hold 10.5 kg of hydrogen at 350 bar (5,000 psi).

Purchased by the CHR, the eTec HICE Silverado is the first hydrogen vehicle to be registered in South Carolina and will be used to publicly demonstrate using hydrogen in transportation. To fund this project, the CHR received a $175,000 grant from the Washington Division of URS Corporation.

Although eTec currently has several HICE vehicles in operation in Canada participating in the Integrated Wasted Hydrogen Utilization Project (IWHUP) (earlier post), and has orders for other HICE vehicles for US customers, the eTec HICE Silverado delivered to the Center for Hydrogen Research is the first eTec HICE vehicle to be registered and operated in the United States.



The previous post refers to using waste hydrogen from a plant along with NG in fleet vehicles. This could reduce fossil fuel usage in a small way and advance the knowledge of hydrogen ICEs.

tom deplume

It uses a total of 115 gallons of volume to store the energy equivalent of 10 gallons of gasoline. Is there any space left for cargo?


Hydrogen ICE have grossly low total efficiency, are underpowered or produce to much NOx, but the space taken up by the fuel tanks alone has got to be the biggest problem!


I would like to see Ford get something out of their ICE research in Australia. It uses gasoline but injects a small amount of H2 to improve ignition.

The advantages are improved mileage, the ability to operate w/o H2 if needed, and the low volume of H2 required.

Alas, it will probably be a nice refinement but too little and too late.


Not particularly a useful experiment unless you are trying to prove a negative!: An H2 powered ICE, wow! let me hold on here, this may be the very future I've been waiting for.


The power and torque are anemic; I've got an engine which produces 100 kW and 247 ft-lb out of just 1.9 liters.

I guess this means that the pickup could be powered by a slightly up-rated VW 4-cylinder TDI diesel and get substantially better fuel economy.  Now that is something worth doing!


I believe their fuel economy works out at being 12.97mpg (gasoline-equivalent) urban & 18.53mpg (gasoline-equivalent) highway.

Not to put too fine a point on it, that sucks.

Unless you've got an unlimited source of hydrogen somewhere in the States that you're not telling us about then this pick up only really proves that hydrogen doesn't really suit IC engines.



Its just a demo that shows how relatively cheap changes to a gas normal car can make it work on h2. It ISNT an h2 car anymore then cramming 4 tons of batteries and wleding a 300 hp electric morot only the hummers crankshaft would make an electric car.


If you look at the earlier post it says:

"...making use of an existing but currently untapped source of hydrogen fuel: hydrogen emitted as the by-product of a sodium chlorate manufacturing plant in the North Vancouver area."

So they have the hydrogen and presumably it is not cost effective to store nor transport it, so they are using it.


Makes one wonder if there was a nearby source of carbon dioxide they could use to make methanol, which would be a superior fuel for current engines.

Roger Pham

An ICE designed to run on gasoline is an example of how NOT to build an hydrogen-ICE. The compression is too low for adequate expansion of the exhaust gas, and the use of super charger with intercooler robs a lot of efficiency from adiabatic loss and internal resistance.

A truly efficient H-ICE would use a high compression Atkinson-cycle engine, with effective compression ratio of about 14 and expansion ratio of 18 or higher in order to extract the mechanic energy of the compressed hydrogen. The DIRECT INJECTION of Hydrogen will be injected at TDC at about ~70-100 bars of pressure, whereby it will rapid mix with the compress air and combust vigorously like in a Diesel engine, except much faster combustion than isobaric combustion of Diesel cycle, so I would call it an DiesOtto cycle, similar in effect to the MB HCCI thanks to the very rapid H2 combustion at stoichiometric ratio. This will give higher efficiency than achievable with diesel engine at 45% peak, approaching 50% thermal efficiency. High-power combustion will be done at stoichiometric ratio in order to utilize the reductive catalyst for reduction of NOx. Part-load will use extra lean combustion for NOx control while routing the exhaust gas away from the catalytic converter.

If and when H2 fuel will be produced in abundance, expect H-ICE to exceed Diesel in efficiency, on par with PEM-FC and no less!


It just occurred to me -- if hydrogen is the fuel of the future, how come we're not using it for residential furnaces, hot-water heaters, and stoves? I'm sure you'd have to adjust the mixture a bit for each device on the system, but it's fundamentally similar to the existing natural gas systems that so many people use!

Oh, right, the stuff is too valuable in it's H2 form to use for that purpose -- and splitting water to put it into that form takes at least as much energy as you get back when you burn H2...

Still, if people want to build a hydrogen infrastructure, why not start with the trusty old stove?


Well other then the fact for anything that can stay plugged in grid power is already used often...

h2 in a stove would be like using rocket fue; in a moped. H2 burn VERY HOT. Then there is the tiny little problrm of ng pipes not being good for h2... and yjr gsvy it doesnt so much burn as mildly explode...


With that much H2, they could make ammonia and nitrogen fertilizer. Whatever sells for the most and is in the greatest demand.


If the point is to show economical conversion of existing gas driven vehicle, hydrogen ICE conversions make sense and would be a very good thing. The country has a huge investment in gas driven equipment. I still use a tractor built in 1948 and it has a ton more life. I'm trying to determine if it's possible for a farm to be energy self sufficient with the simple modifications to existing equipment. I was wondering if the farm had access to cheap electricity due to a good wind source or micro-hydro, could that farm easily produce and utilize hydrogen on converted machines (tractors, farm truck, and other existing gas or diesel driven vehicles)?

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