Production-ready Hybrid Hydrogen technology reduces CO2 emissions with minimal adaptation

New automotive concept is a powerful solution that shows significant CO2 reduction with no restrictions in driving range or refuelling time; OEMs can reach 2020 European emissions legislation without major R&D investment.

The Hybrid Hydrogen system developed by Alset Global has been designed as a practical, affordable, transitional technology which harnesses the advantages of hydrogen and decades of development of the internal combustion engine while avoiding the current obstacles to the widespread introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Automotive engineers and combustion experts at Alset Global devised the Hybrid Hydrogen system to meet two key criteria: a practical technology that would not sacrifice performance and driving experience; and a complete system that would cost no more than 15 percent of the total cost of the vehicle. After years of development, the company is in a position to offer both, as well as presenting vehicle manufacturers with an effective solution that meets the European mobility sector’s climate gas reduction goals.

Backing hydrogen as a low carbon, clean energy

Hydrogen is widely recognised as a sustainable alternative to increasingly scarce fossil fuels. It can be produced from a broad range of sources such as through renewable energies and water electrolysis, gasification of biomass, and the reforming of hydrocarbons. Currently, the majority of hydrogen production is via natural gas steam reforming. Since no rare, precious or toxic materials are used in the development and production process, feedstock supply and proper disposal/recycling practices are ensured and are possible at the lowest cost. The increased demand for hydrogen fuel in coming years will foster the exploration of all possible sustainable methods of production.

When hydrogen is burned to produce power no harmful emissions are generated, as virtually only water in the form of steam is the result. This makes hydrogen the most clean and sustainable fuel available with the best lifecycle results. It is the reason Alset Global is basing the design and development of its advanced technologies for the transportation sector, on hydrogen power.

Hydrogen is simple in that it is two hydrogen atoms held together in a single H-H bond. In comparison, octane, a primary constituent of gasoline, has 25 chemical bonds per molecule. This simplicity makes for very fast rates of energy release, or rapid kinetics, as well as a wide ignition range, which makes it ideal for use in conventional combustion. It burns six times faster than gasoline, which, together with mature injection and combustion control technology, means hydrogen combustion can be up to 30 percent more efficient than gasoline combustion. This helps to reduce overall fuel consumption and increase driving range.

Hybrid system working with the internal combustion engine

By integrating a hydrogen fuel injection process into the existing internal combustion engine (ICE), Hybrid Hydrogen allows customers, particularly of performance and premium cars, to continue enjoying powerful and emotional products, while protecting the environment.

The ICE represents the core competence of the automotive industry. Production and development infrastructure as well as a mature supplier network has been optimised for many decades. A clean technology that is able to profit from this substantial financial and material effort has a clear advantage in terms of total cost of ownership and time to market. Vehicle manufacturers do not have to change the powertrain and power source for their cars in one go, thereby minimising risk.

Alset Global has set out to develop the use of hydrogen in the engines of today, bridging the gap to the hydrogen economy, without further delay. Fuel cells, which convert the chemical energy from a fuel such as hydrogen into electricity, still require a few years of research and development before they can provide a competitive and marketable solution for the automotive industry. By focusing on dual-fuel hydrogen internal combustion engines (HICEs) – where the engine can run on petrol, hydrogen or a mixture of both – Alset Global is presenting an alternative propulsion mobility solution which meets enables high power density and durability with predictable development risk.

Importantly, it meets the expectations of society. To be accepted, consumers will demand the benefits of gasoline or diesel-fuelled vehicles, such as affordability, ease of use and reliability, with no restrictions in terms of driving range and refuelling options. At the same time, in order to be competitive and successful, the technology needs to have a clear advantage when it comes to CO2 reduction and gasoline/diesel fuel saving.

A Hybrid Hydrogen vehicle will show a driving range, in pure hydrogen operation, of 150 km to 400 km depending on the engine, vehicle size and tank technology (350 or 700 bar). Additional to the driving range in hydrogen, a gasoline tank offers an overall driving range that will be at least the driving range of the conventional base vehicle.

Alset Global’s Hybrid Hydrogen technology addresses some of the current issues associated with other hydrogen propulsion systems. Fuel cells are the most efficient method of utilising hydrogen as a fuel yet they are also the most expensive. Hybrid Hydrogen is the only alternative hydrogen-based technology that can be competitive today while bringing significant CO2 reductions. HICE technologies have been criticised in the past for their power loss compared to gasoline and diesel-powered engines. Alset Global’s injection and combustion technology controls the fuel compound and combustion process according to each particular driving situation to ensure an optimum balance of power, acceleration and CO2 reduction. This compensates for the dramatic power loss of up to 40 percent that other HICE technologies have previously shown.

Easy integration to the current generation of cars

Crucially for a seamless introduction, Alset Global’s Hybrid Hydrogen system requires no major changes to the internal combustion engine. This makes it feasible even to integrate the technology to virtually any engine today, including direct injection engines. Vehicle manufacturers can achieve European emissions targets of 95 g of CO2 per km by 2020 without major R&D investment.

Engine modifications are limited to the inclusion of turbochargers (increasingly specified on modern cars) and associated intercooler, along with compression ratio reductions, special valve seats and injectors.

In terms of storing the hydrogen inside the car, storage technology is developing rapidly and offering leaps in capacity and at the same time reduced package volume. Conventional cars retrofitted to bi-fuel natural gas-gasoline vehicles can successfully integrate 250-300 litres of storage envelope volumes without compromising passenger compartment or trunk space.

Depending on tank technology and service pressure this volume will allow Hybrid Hydrogen cars to integrate up to 6 kg of hydrogen and allow driving ranges of up to 400 km in Hybrid Hydrogen mode without sacrificing trunk space.

Use of existing infrastructure; creating demand for the future

Hybrid Hydrogen technology overcomes the obstacles of the currently under-developed and under-utilised hydrogen infrastructure while enabling the mainstream introduction of clean, hydrogen mobility.

Alset Global is forming partnerships, not with only organisations involved in hydrogen production, distribution and dispensing, but also with cities and governmental agencies, and vehicle fleet operators (including urban buses) that are likely to be the early adopters of the Hybrid Hydrogen technology. The more hydrogen vehicles hit the market, the more profitable and widely available, hydrogen fuelling will become.

The public hydrogen station networks planned by many governments will initially suffice to allow Hybrid Hydrogen vehicles a good chance to run on hydrogen around major urban areas.