As advancements with hydrogen continue to be made, an existing hydrogen technology is being implemented in California.

Ford Motor Company and Westport Innovations Inc. have teamed for a two-year project in which they will design and demonstrate an advanced direct injection fuel system for vehicles powered by hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will also collaborate with the two companies on the development of the hydrogen direct injection (H2DI) technology, according to Dr. Michael Gallagher, Westport’s president and chief operating officer.

The project will consist of two phases. The first will define advanced fuel system requirements, including the fuel injector design. The second phase will incorporate the design and manufacture of new prototype fuel systems. The work will take place at Westport’s technology center in Vancouver, Canada; Ford’s test facilities in Dearborn, Michigan; and the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.

Cummins Westport truck

Founded in 1995, Westport Innovations Inc. develops technology that utilizes hydrogen and other alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas. NAFTC file photo

Dr. Gallagher added that Westport’s H2DI technology could provide high power and engine torque with diesel-like efficiency and low emissions. “Early data indicates the strong potential for a truly green vehicle combining great efficiency characteristics with extremely low air pollutants and zero greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe,” he said. “This technology has the potential to be commercially available a lot sooner and more cost-effectively than other hydrogen automotive technologies.”

As Ford and Westport combine forces to make new hydrogen advances, Harvest Energy Technology Inc. (HET) is integrating its existing technology, a methane steam reformer hydrogen generator. Sun Valley, California-based HET is supplying its generator, which separates hydrogen from methane, to a hydrogen refueling station in Oakland, California. The station opened in 2005, and it is operated by the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, the third largest public bus system in California. The generator will be installed in the second quarter of 2006 to provide additional refueling support for fuel cell cars.

actransit fuel station

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District collaborated with ChevronTexaco to develop a hydrogen refueling station. The station, located in Oakland, California, opened in 2005. Credit: Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, 2004 Media Fact Sheet

HET was founded in 1995. Its hydrogen generator was selected for the refueling station following field tests at the ChevronTexaco Montebello Technology Center in 2004.

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