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BMW Shows Demonstration Mono-Fuel Version of the Hydrogen 7; Next Engine Version Will Use Charging for 2-3X Increase in Power Density

BMW introduced a new mono-fuel version of its Hydrogen 7 vehicle at the 2008 National Hydrogen Association Conference in Sacramento, CA today. The BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel is a demonstration production vehicle, not a prototype, and was created to showcase the zero CO2 and low emissions potential and feasibility of a dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE).

Based on the BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel version (gasoline and hydrogen) (earlier post), the BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel is equipped with a 6.0-liter V12 internal combustion engine (ICE) which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. The hydrogen storage system in the mono-fuel version is the same as in the bi-fuel version: a cryogenic tank that holds approximately 8 kg (17.6 lbs) of liquid hydrogen.

The hydrogen engine uses fully variable VALVETRONIC valve management and variable double-VANOS camshaft control. Hydrogen is delivered with a hydrogen supply pipe integrated in intake manifold. Under full load, the engine runs under stoichiometric conditions: a complete balance of oxygen and hydrogen (lambda = 1). This mixture ratio also provides the highest level of performance and output on low emissions in the hydrogen mode.

Although unlike fossil fuels, the combustion of hydrogen generates neither hydrocarbons (HC) nor carbon monoxide (CO), it does produce NOx at high combustion temperatures. To reduce NOx, the Hydrogen 7’s engine runs with a lean burn under partial load (lambda > 2). The lean burn keeps temperatures in the combustion process are relatively low, keeping NOx emissions to a minimum.

Such a lean burn mode can be maintained throughout a particularly wide range of operation in the engine control map. And since hydrogen offers particularly broad ignition limits and burns at a fast rate, only a small amount of fuel is required in the mixture to generate a high level of efficiency, according to BMW. As the engine moves to a richer burn to boost engine output (reaching a max of lambda = 1), the engine management system helps to reduce the engine-out NOx. Remaining NOx is handled by a regular three-way catalyst.

Compared with the bi-fuel version, this vehicle achieves lower emissions, and slightly increased engine performance, reduced consumption and greater hydrogen range (140 miles versus 125 miles).

The Hydrogen 7’s V12 mono-fuel ICE produces no CO2 and near-zero emissions, as recent testing by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), confirmed. ANL conducted emission tests on BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles in early March 2008.

The mono-fuel Hydrogen 7 will also appear at the upcoming 2008 SAE World Congress in Detroit, MI (14 - 17 April). BMW and ANL will hold a joint press conference about the results of the emission testing at the event.

Next steps. The next step for BMW, which is maintaining its focus on the hydrogen combustion engine as a solution for almost zero emission vehicles, is to develop a charged version of the engine. According to Tobias Brunner of BMW, who also discussed BMW’s approaches to hydrogen storage at the NHA conference, shifting to a charged engine with about 8-10 bar of pressure will increase the power density of the hydrogen engine by between two to three times: from a density of 33 kW/liter in the current mono-fuel V-12 to a density of between 70-90 kW/liter in the future engine.

The charged engine will be applied in a smaller vehicle than the 7 Series model, and will likely be paired with a cryo-compressed hydrogen storage system (CcH2), assuming development and proof-of-concept work on those systems proceeds according to plan.

Cryo-compression is one of the approaches being pursued to increase the gravimetric and volumetric storage capacities of compressed gas tanks from their current levels. At fixed pressure and volume, gas tank volumetric capacity increases as the tank temperature decreases. Cooling a tank from room temperature to liquid nitrogen temperature (77 K) will increase its volumetric capacity by a factor of four, although system volumetric capacity will be less than this due to the increased volume required for the cooling system.



Chilled hydrogen! Yes, that's the ticket!

Sigh. What a waste of effort.


so if you're going to take all that energy to produce hydrogen (usually from natural gas anyways), why not just make CNG your alt fuel?
seems surprising considering the size of the natural gas industry. don't they realize, they have the hook-up (literally, it goes into everyone's house).


Snore... More Greenwashing from BMW. Coming soon to an advertisement near you!


What is the market for this monstrosity? Too expensive for revheads, too much hassle for the highflyers and no one with a environmental conscience is dumb enough to see this as a green car. It's just about being seen to do something while carrying on with business as usual.


I read a more encouraging article recently quoting a senior BMW insider who said that the company is genuinely considering a full size battery EV with a completely new approach to styling so that aerodynamic coefficient could drop below 0.20. Are they in talks with A123?


So it is to be fueled useing a power source that they control, but atleast it will aid in our country moving from our super dependency of oil. Most of South America's transportaion fuel is made from suger juice and there are other ways of powering our transportation systems like that fuel cell that creates a burnable hydrogen right there on the spote from water, but we are geting there. Be hopefull postive thinking like :][: I am gonna make my own fuel and take some problem solving taskes into my own hands at one point. If you are gonna complian I say dont do it just to hear your own voice get up get out and get something done.



I agree. NG is piped into many homes and adding CNG to fueling stations should not a problem. NG is high octane and many cars already run on it. It is clean and affordable. I guess that it is not advancing the state of the art much to make one, but it is a practical solution.


Hydrogen is teh futur maaeeeen?!! Where do yuo thikn hidrgggeynn cumz from? Monkeys? It comes from earnnnth

Dead babies

I heard bmw gets the hydrogen by squeezing it out if dead babies from china. They have to kill the babies first but I mean the are german. They are good at that kind of thing. I suppose it doesn't help with energy independence either. The 7 only gets 10 miles per dead baby.

prius rokzzzzz

Yeah can you imagine a hydrogen powered Prius though? That would get like 30 miles per dead baby


"why not just make CNG your alt fuel?
seems surprising considering the size of the natural gas industry. don't they realize, they have the hook-up (literally, it goes into everyone's house)."

Yes marc, they realize it - and that's why they're NOT doing it. For the P.T.B.s it's all about control, they've got it and they don't want to give it up. Because of their needs in production/handling hydrogen and biofuels must be supplied the same way as gasoline is now - through a system of 'service stations.' Like a junkie needing to feed our addiction we need to keep going back to them for more fuel, hydrogen and biofuels are just them pushing a new drug on us for a better high. With NG coming into our homes we wouldn't need to go to them anymore for an energy fix, it comes to us.

And the idea of filling up at home leads to thoughts of the real solution - electricity. That comes into everybody's home too. And what's more with EVs there's a real possibility of not needing to even have our energy fix come to us because we can actually make electricity ourselves with wind turbines in our backyards and solar panels on our roofs. The Powers That Be really don't want us to think about that kind energy independence.


Energy independence?? That's kinda like personal independence... Not good for group-think or centralized resource bureaucrats. And those CNG/electric utilities don't look a hell of a lot different than P.T.B. - except like a good high-end dealer - they deliver.


"those CNG/electric utilities don't look a hell of a lot different than P.T.B."

Exactly, but this is there the home power wind turbine/solar cell systems come in. THAT'S what they don't want. That and anything which might lead up to it.

Bob Bastard

@ai_vin: And where do you think those wind turbines and exotic solar cell systems are going to come from? Are you going to design and build them in your basement, or are they going to be supplied by huge multinational corporations? Don't get me wrong, I think that electric dominant vehicles powered by a smart, distributed electricity grid is the ultimate long term solution, but our societies current petroleumdependence is not based on a giant conspiracy, either, but rather, is a problem to which we have all contributed, and are therefore all responsible, to some extent.


Bob I think you're missing the point. Its not so much a giant conspiracy as it is an economic truism; it is much easier for a business to keep an old customer than find a new one. They ALL want us to keep coming back to them for something: check-ups, servicing, refills, replacements, etc. (This is what really killed GM's earlier EV, they didn't need servicing from any GM approved service centre.) The oil companies have just hit the motherload is all - we BURN UP their product.

Solar panels are a onetime buy thing; buy them, install them and you get free energy for the next 20-30+ years. That means you can basicly forget who you bought them from. No company wants that.


This is where the car companies becoming fuel companies comes in. They make money on the original sale of the car and then make money on service to the car and fuel for the car years after. A nice business model.


Right. This was something my father pointed out to me years ago. He was a mechanic for 50yrs and he noticed how cars were getting ever more complex, which meant you needed ever more complex tools to fix them - tools which only the factory supplied. It use to be anybody with a good ear could tune a car, now (if you want to get it through AirCare) you need a computer to tune it.

Back to GMs first EV - it was dead simple and anybody with a voltmeter could keep it running with parts avalible at any retail outlet. The newer EVs are now as complex as they can make them, with special parts that only the manufacturer supplies.

hell fire

You think a car powered by dead babies is going to save the world? You people make me sick. You should be ashamed of your selves. Ur all going to hell.


Don't mind them 'hell fire,' they were just a couple of "April fools."

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