Thursday, 19 April 2007

Hydrogen combustion engine aims to reduce greenhouse emissions

Researchers in Melbourne are developing a low-cost hydrogen combustion engine and fuel tank, in efforts to help make hydrogen a real alternative to carbon dioxide-emitting fuels.

The project is being conducted by engineers at the University of Melbourne in conjunction with industry collaborators, Ford Australia and Haskel Australia.

"Ultimately this will open up a whole new market for not previously developed low-cost fuel efficient hydrogen-powered vehicles," said project leader Michael Brear, of the University’s school of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.

Brear said a goal of the $3 million project, which is supported in part by State Government funding, is to build a Victorian-manufactured engine that should achieve the world’s highest efficiency for a hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine.

He said hydrogen is seen as a transport fuel of the future because its reaction with air does not produce carbon dioxide, a major cause of climate change.

Many proposed hydrogen fuelled vehicles, however, are viewed as excessively expensive and impractical due to limited compression and storage capacity.

"Existing storage methods such as pressurisation of hydrogen to 350-700 atmospheres, are excessively large, very heavy or unaffordable and do not show a clear path to meeting automotive requirements," he said. "We will investigate a novel approach to high density storage of hydrogen at pressures that allow use of conventional storage equipment."

More information is available from the University of Melbourne’s press release.

No comments: