August 14, 2006
Ford Validates Hydrogen-Fueled Vehicle Effort
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC) was incorporated in June of 2003. It was shortly thereafter that the naysayers began to cast their doubts about HEC president, Ted Hollinger's vision to create a hydrogen fueled power source using an internal combustion engine. "They all said I was wasting my time, trying to create a 21st century energy solution using forty year old technology that featured an engine design once used in a 1960's vintage pickup truck," said Hollinger.
On July 17th, it was announced to the world that Ford Motor Company shares Hollinger's vision. On that day, Ford proclaimed that they were developing a hydrogen fueled E-450 bus powered by a 6.8L V-10 engine. "This announcement validates the efforts made by HEC toward the continued development of hydrogen fueled internal combustion engines (HICE)," said Hollinger.
Like Ford has now done, HEC brings state-of-the-art technology to the table in the development of their hydrogen engines. For the most part, these engines look and perform much like the ones currently running of standard pump gasoline. Internally there are numerous design upgrades that allow the engines to run on hydrogen, externally the engines feature a proprietary designed computer and fuel delivery system that sets them apart in the industrial world.
It is because of their commitment to the reduction of engine related emissions and dependency on foreign oil imports that in the near future Hydrogen Engine Center officials expect to surpass all industrial fuel cell and internal combustion industrial engine manufacturers combined in production of alternative fueled engines.
Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc. designs, manufactures and distributes flex and alternative fuel internal combustion engines and power generation equipment for agricultural, industrial, airport ground support, vehicular, business and home applications. All HEC engines and generators are capable of running on a multitude of fuels, including but not limited to hydrogen, gasoline, propane, natural gas or ethanol. Engines that run on other fuels are currently under development.
by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Although HEC is a relatively small company, it has big ambitions with the engines that it is developing that run on alternative fuels, including hydrogen. HEC actually introduced its first production-ready hydrogen-fueled engine just about two years ago. With several connections to Ford even then (as you'll see below), that engine was a highly modified Ford 4.9L that produced 74 HP using commercial grade hydrogen.
HEC was founded by Theodore G. Hollinger, formerly Director of Engineering at Ford Motor Company and Vice President of the Power Conversion Group at Ballard Power Systems responsible for development of hydrogen engine generator power sets (gensets). When Ballard cancelled its genset program, Mr. Hollinger founded Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC) with the goal of establishing a "hydrogen engine center of excellence" to foster the development of hydrogen engines for industrial applications.
The Company's products are being marketed under the brand name "Oxx Power". The engines are being assembled and tested in Algona, Iowa, which was formerly the site of a Ford engine rebuilding center. HEC plans to distribute its engines through an existing network of Ford industrial engine distributors.
In 2005, Ford Power Products pulled back from the industrial engine business. HEC intends to support this market vacated by Ford with spare parts for existing engines, rebuilt gasoline-powered engines and its Oxx Power engines, all of which run on flex-fuels. The Oxx Power engines have been configured to conform to the same form, fit, and function as the original Ford engines. The engines act as replacements for industrial users who are dependent upon Ford industrial engine products, but for whom have been affected due to Ford's decision last year. The initial Oxx Power engines, which are aimed at replacement sales in order to create short-term revenue, are standard gasoline powered
internal combustion engines. However, HEC's engines can be converted to hydrogen or other flex-fuels in the future.
A hydrogen engine looks like a standard gasoline engine. Parts are identical including the motor mounts, radiator, or any other part of the vehicle infrastructure. Only the fuel storage and delivery systems are different. HEC intends to ultimately assist end users in choosing the proper fueling system and to be involved in providing training in hydrogen safety.
The essentials of the combustion process for hydrogen are not that different than that for gasoline, except that hydrogen has a supersonic flame front, necessitating design changes in the engine to deal with the sharp power spike created. The other areas requiring changes are electronic engine and oil controls. HEC uses fuel injection instead of fumigation (similar to carburetion) to more precisely control the combustion process. Engine efficiencies have been reported in the area of 34-36%, but HEC believes appreciably higher figures are achievable. The hydrogen engine, unlike the fuel cell, is not sensitive to small levels of fuel contamination, so lower grades of hydrogen (which have a
lower cost) can be used.
Availability of engines and availability of fuel have been the two biggest issues for acceptance and adoption of alternatively-powered vehicles, and HEC is contributing to the engine side of the equation. Although the company is relatively small, it is thinking big about the future.
The Week's Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Right Hemisphere has been named one of the "Hottest Companies" of 2006 by Start-IT magazine, a trade publication serving manufacturers. Right Hemisphere ascended from Start-IT's 2005 list of companies to "Keep An Eye On" to the top distinction of "Hot" this year. In its 2006 fiscal year, Right Hemisphere achieved over 90% year over year growth in bookings. In addition to record bookings, the company licensed its 3D Product Graphics Management (PGM) technology to Adobe Systems for inclusion in Adobe Acrobat 3D. Right Hemisphere introduced new versions of virtually every product in its portfolio in fiscal year 2006, as well as expanded its customer base, channel,
technology partnerships, internal staff, and product line to meet growing PGM demand.
PTC announced that Festo AG (Esslingen, Germany), one of the world leaders in automation and controls, has selected the PTC Product Development System (PDS) to replace its existing CAD/PLM platform. Festo will begin its adoption of the PDS with Pro/ENGINEER. In parallel Windchill will be implemented for content and process management. Festo's decision to deploy the PTC PDS is part of a corporate strategy to secure and improve its position in the global marketplace. The recent addition of Arbortext, PTC's dynamic publishing software, to the PTC PDS was an additional factor in Festo's decision to work with PTC. Festo will deploy PTC solutions at corporate headquarters, where its main R&D
facilities are located, as well as in its international technical engineering centers, where products are adapted to local market needs.
Engineous Software announced that it is shipping iSIGHT-FD version 2.0. The new release offers an extended set of design driver techniques that help users rapidly find better designs, as well as advanced visualization for easier interpretation of design results and additional components that reduce the effort to integrate commercial design and analysis tools. New capabilities include a Stochastic Design Improvement (SDI) component, additional optimization techniques, a highly visual correlation map tool, enhanced data exchange, a Matlab component, and major enhancements to the Visual Design Driver interface. Additionally, to simplify user's tool integration efforts, Engineous along with its
development partners, have created dozens of components that work with major commercial CAD and CAE programs.
Dassault Systèmes (DS) announced that Scott Berkey has joined ABAQUS as Vice President, Worldwide Operations. As a member of the senior management team charged with establishing SIMULIA as the DS brand for simulation, he will provide strategic and operational direction for the brand's global sales, services, and field technical support functions. An accomplished executive, Berkey has spent most of his career in senior positions for high-technology and software companies. He comes to ABAQUS after serving as CEO of Axentis, Inc. Prior to this role, he was president and CEO for over four years at Proficiency Ltd. Berkey also held a number of executive-level positions at SDRC.
National Instruments (NI), announced the NI LabVIEW Toolkit for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT. With the new toolkit, LabVIEW users can create and download VIs to operate and control the MINDSTORMS NXT robotics platform. Third-party software and hardware developers also can use the toolkit to create native blocks for MINDSTORMS NXT software. MINDSTORMS NXT, the next generation of the popular LEGO robotics invention system, became available earlier this month and includes a new programming environment, custom developed by NI and powered by LabVIEW. With the toolkit, users also can interact with the NXT robot while a program is running. By dropping a LabVIEW control, the toolkit can send data to the
robot and influence the currently executing program. By dropping an indicator, the value at that point in the program is sent back to the PC and viewed in a regular LabVIEW front panel.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.