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EU endorses Hydrogen Combustion Engine

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Media Information

27 February 2007


EU endorses Hydrogen Combustion Engine as Technology of the Future

EU HyICE project results in the first ever successful transatlantic hydrogen-cooperation.
Munich/Brussels/Washington.

Ten European partners have completed the HyICE project – Optimization of the Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine three years after the project first began. This initiative, which was promoted by the EU Commission, has resulted in a combustion engine fueled by hydrogen that offers clear advantages over other propulsion systems in terms of performance and costs. The project team consists of companies from the automotive industry, their supplier companies and two Universities. This project, which was coordinated by BMW Group Research and Technology, developed two concepts of mixture formation, which were approved on engines for passenger cars as well as for citybuses. The necessary key components were also developed. In addition, relevant simulation tools have been adopted to Hydrogen combustion to support the development process of future production engines. Furthermore, the top European hydrogen experts shared their findings on a regular basis with researchers from the US Department of Energy. This makes HyICE the first project of its kind within the EU Commission.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik said: "The HyICE project clearly demonstrates the key role of EU research in reducing dependency towards fossil fuels. This is an example of successful EU investment in pre-competitive research, with a potential impact reaching way beyond Europe's borders. The results achieved with a hydrogen combustion engine should encourage industry to develop this form of mobility further. This is a key contribution to preserve the environment and to keep Europe at the forefront of global competition"

In March 2003, the then EU Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin, and the State Secretary of the US Department of Energy, Spencer Abraham, decided to share research findings more intensively between their respective continents. The aim of this project for the EU was to promote cooperation on topics such as climate change and energy in the Sixth Framework Program and to develop visions for hydrogen energy sources and alternative drives.

With a distinct performance of 100 kW per liter cubic capacity (displacement), the experts of HyICE have demonstrated that the hydrogen engine is a technology for the future which matches performance-wise with conventional engines. This was the first time researchers were able to concentrate exclusively on the hydrogen combustion engine and were thus able to fully utilize the specific properties of hydrogen. Up until now, hydrogen combustion engines were designed for both, gasoline and hydrogen usage due to missing hydrogen infrastructure. With this new technology hydrogen usage can be optimised.

Graz University of Technology, Hoerbiger Valve Tec, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, Volvo Technology and BMW Group Research and Technology developed and tested two concepts of mixture formation for this purpose: direct injection and external cold mixture formation. In both methods performance was doubled while consumption was reduced.

Together with BMW Group Research and Technology, the Swedish company Mecel Engine Systems developed an ignition system which is accurately tailored to the far-reaching flammability limits of hydrogen. This has increased efficiency and reduced consumption. In order to make the properties of hydrogen more transparent for future series developments, the IFP (French Institut Francais du Petrole) and the German University of the Federal Armed Forces developed two simulation models for hydrogen combustion in the cylinder. Using the optical engine from the Graz University of Technology, the researchers succeeded in observing the combustion behavior of hydrogen and checking the computer-aided calculation models. These models were then incorporated into the commercial calculation tool Ansys CFX, developed by Ansys Germany.

To extract the maximum benefit out of all efforts made at both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the Ford Research Center in Aachen built the transatlantic bridges and coordinated the sharing of findings between the EU researchers and the US hydrogen specialists. Alongside HyICE, the US Department of Energy is also promoting a hydrogen engine project initiated by Ford (USA). It has commissioned two National Laboratories in Illinois and California, as well as North American Universities to carry out this work.

In conclusion, Prof. Raymond Freymann, Head of BMW Group Research and Technology says: "The combustion engine is one of the most highly developed industrial products. Over one hundred years have been invested in its development. It demonstrates high performance levels and variability with low costs and easy maintenance on a daily basis. With the use of hydrogen, it is already providing a well-developed technical solution for sustainable mobility. We are convinced that even in the future individual mobility using the hydrogen combustion engine will remain an attractive method of transportation."


ANSYS, Inc., founded in 1970, develops and globally markets engineering simulation software and technologies widely used by engineers and designers across a broad spectrum of industries. The Company focuses on the development of open and flexible solutions that enable users to analyze designs directly on the desktop, providing a common platform for fast, efficient and cost-conscious product development, from design concept to final-stage testing and validation. ANSYS employs approximately 1,400 people worldwide and supports CAE tools such as ANSYS FEM, ANSYS CFX and Fluent which are recognized as market and technology leaders. As a member of the HyICE project the main objective of ANSYS was the implementation of advanced combustion models in ANSYS CFX, as a common CFD-platform, which can be used for reliable simulations of internal combustion engines which use hydrogen as fuel.

BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of BMW AG and has been in charge of the following research topics at the BMW Group since 2003: VehicleTechnology, CleanEnergy (hydrogen technology), EfficientDynamics (intelligent energy management/alternative drives), ConnectedDrive (driver assistance systems /active safety) and ITDrive (IT-architecture and communication technology). Legal autonomy as a limited company guarantees scope for development and maximum flexibility. Global access to trends and technologies is ensured by an internationally established network with the support bases Palo Alto and Clemson (USA), Tokyo (Japan) and Sophia Antipolis (France).

HOERBIGER has a leading global position in compression, automation and drive technology. 4,700 employees attained a turnover of around 650 million Euro in 2005. Business is focused on systems, components and services for compressors and gas engines, pneumatic and hydraulic components for the automotive industry and mechanical engineering and on systems for shifting and clutches in powertrains
of passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

IFP, as an international research and training center, is developing the transport energies of the 21st century. It provides public players and industry with innovative solutions for a smooth transition to the energies and materials of tomorrow – more efficient, more economical, cleaner and sustainable. To fulfill its mission, IFP has 5 complementary strategic priorities: pushing back the boundaries in oil and gas exploration and production - converting as much raw material as possible into transport energy - developing clean, fuel-efficient vehicles - diversifying fuel sources - capturing and storing CO2 to combat the greenhouse effect. An integral part of IFP, its graduate engineering school prepares future generations to take up these challenges.

MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG is one of the leading international suppliers for trucks, buses and transport solutions. MAN trucks and buses produces trucks from 6 to 50 tons overall weight, heavy special vehicles up to 300 tons, city buses and overland coaches. Beside of this, MAN develops and manufactures Diesel and gas engines for a huge amount of mobile as well as stationary applications.

Mecel Engine Systems provides services and products for combustion monitoring and control on the forefront of technology. Mecel Engine Systems takes a pride to combine innovative engineering with quality. As such, Mecel Engine Systems has provided products and services in a variety of applications such as ion current measurement systems, engine control systems and ignition systems and other vehicle electronic devices.

UBWM – University of the German Armed Forces – Aerospace Technology Department - Thermodynamics Institute:The University of the German Armed Forces is a small campus university for approximately 2500 military and civil students, who receive their diploma after 3 ¼ years. The research of the Thermodynamics Institute (2 professors, 25 scientific and technical staff) is focussed on research in the fields of numerical and experimental combustion research, turbulent heat transfer, aeroacoustics and aerothermo-dynamics of hypersonic flow.

Volvo Technology Corporation (VTEC) is an innovation company that on contract basis invents, researches, develops and integrates new product and business concepts and technology for hard as well as soft products within the transport and vehicle industry. Work is primarily done in the key technology areas: soft products, production, vehicles, propulsion & alternative drives, electronics and methods. The primary customers are the Volvo Group Business Areas & Units. VTEC has nearly 400 employees and is located in Gothenburg, and at Volvo's establishments in Lyon, France and Greensboro, USA.

The core objective of the Institute for Internal Combustion Engines and Thermodynamics at Graz University of Technology (TUG) is to carry out innovative and internationally recognised teaching and research within the interrelated fields of use of energy, engine and transportation technology and in particular their impact on the environment. The area of Innovative Combustion Systems investigates new combustion systems for conventional fuels such as diesel and gasoline, which still have a high potential concerning part-load efficiency and reduction of particle- and NOx-emissions, respectively. Additionally, new combustion systems employing alternative fuels (e.g. natural gas) and energy carriers (e.g. hydrogen) become more and more important. In general, these research activities focus on all relevant targets as highest efficiency and power density as well as lowest emissions.

Ford Research Center Aachen: Innovative engineering; excellent driving dynamics; individual design; our automobile research has made us one of the greatest automobile manufacturers worldwide. Around 190 employees – including 20 in Dunton (UK) – work in the Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen GmbH on demanding technologies for the vehicles of the future. At the moment, our research is concentrating on the development of new diesel engines, vehicle dynamics, telematics and mobility research, the development of new materials, vehicle electronics, energy management and alternative powertrains.


ENDS

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