H2 Power in Fuel Gas
In a scenario in which there are increasingly restrictive constraints on emissions and fuel consumption, and in which there is a tendency to find solutions for zero emission vehicles (ZEV – zero emissions vehicle), investigations have been carried out since a few years studying the possibilities offered by mixtures of methane and hydrogen as a fuel for internal combustion engines.
The experiments conducted in recent years by various institutes, universities and research centers have shown that the use of hydrogen gas as a fuel introduced even in very small amounts, can give a considereable reduction in CO2 emissions.
The testing launched by the team of H2POWER * at the engine testing Laboratory of the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Perugia has studied the use of a mixture of hydrogen and methane on a conventional engine, highlighting the complete compatibility and adaptability of the innovative mix of fuels. The bench tests were conducted with an Otto cycle engine of 2800 cc displacement running on methane. The analysis included the use of various methane-hydrogen mixtures characterized by different concentrations, with a maximum hydrogen value of 35% v/v.
Below are some of the results obtained in the several runs of tests in which we highlight some of the issues addressed above, such as the fundamental reduction of NOx emissions with incresingly lean mixtures.
In the case of pure methane the curve stops quite early for reasons of instability of operation of the engine (rapid increase in misfiring); consequently with the remaining stil high amounts of NOx the output from the engine would not be compatible with the action of the Traditional three-way catalyst which is only able to reduce these emissions in stoichiometric conditions.
Instead, fueling the engine with hydro-methane up to 35% v/v resulted in greatly reduced emissions, a very lean mixture being used thanks to very high flammability of hydrogen. In this way we can eliminate the need for a reducing catalyst.
The use of hydrogen even in percentages of 7-30% v/v is sufficient to increase the combustion efficiency of a traditional combustion engine by reducing the fuel consumption and to bring down almost completely the pollutant emissions COx and HC.
There is now a widespread scientific literature that confirms the potential of the use of hydrogen mixtures, particularly in Italy where for several years there has been development and testing at Institutes and Universities, documenting the strong possibility that the diffusion of hydrogen can result in global economy and a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases.
The production of hydrogen can be obtained from the hydrolysis of water, 1M3 of gas requires about 3kwh of electricity. If mixed with another fuel to 30% v/v, we can bring an old vehicle internal combustion engine’s CO2 emissions close to zero without making very extensive changes to the mechanics of the vehicle.
At such a critical and sensitive time for our planet, on the brink of an irreversible climate change with catastrophic social and economic consequences, hydrogen must be regarded as a hypothetical energy source for the future.