Skip to comments.Iowa Co. Hopes to Make Gasoline Obsolete
Posted on 05/19/2006 10:01:17 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
ALGONA, Iowa - While much of the world fumes over escalating fuel prices, a small company in north central Iowa is quietly hoping to make gasoline obsolete as an engine fuel.
Research at the Hydrogen Engine Center Inc. is done in an early 1900s red brick armory at the Kossuth County fairgrounds.
There, a clean six-cylinder engine that looks like it could have been pulled from a Ford pickup has been running for 110 hours, not quite half the 300 hours it must continuously run for certification. The company, led by a retired Ford Motor Co. engineer, hopes to meet Environmental Protection Agency automotive 2007 emission standards.
All 81 parts are original Oxx Power, the brand name the company has given all its engines.
The engine can run on a number of fuels including hydrogen, ethanol, natural gas, propane or digester gas from landfills.
The company, started by Ted Hollinger, 65, is initially focusing on making more efficient, environmentally friendlier engines to replace those used in generators and in forklift trucks, airline ground equipment, irrigation pumps, tractors and buses.
Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have dropped industrial engine production as they've cut costs, leaving what Hollinger said is a ready-made market for his fledgling company.
"Our engine has to bolt in where the old engine went and can't be a thread off," he said. "If you do that and you make improvements in it so that it gets rid of emissions and it's more efficient, then I think people are going to like it."
The company incorporated in Iowa in 2003 and two years later in Canada. It merged with Green Mt. Labs in August 2005 and became a publicly traded company under the name Hydrogen Engine Center Inc.
Hollinger said he insisted that his company have a product to sell from day one instead of starting up as a research and development firm.
The company's products include a six-cylinder engine and a three-cylinder version for small engine applications.
The company has found immediate interest in its hydrogen-powered generators that use five engines.
Brad Van Horn, an engine distributor with Northern Power Productions of Minneapolis, said some orders are already placed for the generators as they approach the production phase.
"The level of excitement is huge," he said.
Van Horn, who sells in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, said he gets calls daily from companies running irrigation equipment in Nebraska. Airports needing to replace the Ford engines in their baggage handling and other ground service equipment will also be a large market.
The company said American Airlines alone has 9,500 vehicles likely to be converted to alternative fuels over the next decade.
While the engines drive a revenue stream for the company, engineers are working to improve the technology of engines that run on hydrogen and other clean fuels.
Bob Mendlesky, another retired Ford engineer, light ups when he describes the potential for the engines his shop is developing.
He said there are obstacles to making cars powered with hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines. To carry enough hydrogen, the fuel tank would have to be under extremely high pressure, he said. In addition, tanks made to that specification cost as much as the engine to power the car.
Hydrogen technology is better suited for generator applications and for industrial uses at its current stage of development, he said.
A better solution may be engines that run on ammonia, Hollinger said.
Development of ammonia as a fuel must include ways to improve its combustibility. Ammonia does not readily spark like other fuels, but Hollinger is determined to overcome some of the obstacles.
"I tell people that I'm no dumber now than when I was at Ford Motor Co. If I can invent at Ford, I can invent here," Hollinger said. "I don't think that there's any reason we can't. Will we? I don't know."
Hollinger said he doesn't expect his small company to make major breakthroughs in the automotive propulsion, but he's willing to work with Ford or any other company working on clean fuel technology.
"I hope in the future the automotive people will look at our stuff and incorporate some of our ideas," he said. "Somebody needs to do something now."
On the Net: Hydrogen Engine Center: http://www.hydrogenenginecenter.com
Dean Schultz, of the Hydrogen Engine Center research and development department, monitors an engine, Friday, May 19, 2006, in Algona, Iowa. The company is working on ways to make engines that use alternative fuels including hydrogen. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
the 4 cylinder ranger engines were extremely versatile when adapted to alternative fuels. this sounds like an interesting company
I thought hydrogen was to be used in a fuel cell, and not an internal cumbustion engine.
my thoughts exactly. I believe that, when it comes to alternative fuels, the guys that are going to win are the ones who offer versatility and a broader range of fuel choices for the same engine.
As an M.E., this kinda stuff really grabs my attention. =)
nope, its combustible, and highly so.
BMW is doing pretty well with hydrogen combustion engines.
check it out...
There's a reason why the Internal combustion engine is still the basic design after 125 years. It can be modified in innumerable ways.
hydrogen is the panacea of the left
when it runs out just pi$$ in it for a few miles:)
FRom their home page, They are doing 'it'.
Clean Power NOW
There is no need to wait for clean power. HEC introduced the first production hydrogen-fueled, spark ignited, internal combustion engine for industrial uses in 2004. We are making engines available years before automotive companies will offer their hydrogen engines for industrial applications.
Clean AFFORDABLE Power
If the cost of fuel cells sinks your budget, then you will love our hydrogen-fueled gensets producing your electrical power. We eliminated complex, expensive solutions in favor of those designs that could approach current power costs, given similar volumes of manufacturing.
If You Arent Ready For Hydrogen Yet
HEC has now introduced two gasoline fueled engines that can easily be converted sometime later to use hydrogen. This pre-positioning simplifies the conversion once the hydrogen fuel supply catches up with the installed base. These engines are designed like all new automotive engines are designed today, except with rugged nodular iron blocks and heads for industrial uses.
We will consider customizing for alternative fuels if they have potential for improving our environment. We have research programs underway for high efficiency, and zero emission engines. We will consider all potential sources of hydrogen. Call or email us if you have a project you think might interest us.
Where Will These Engines Be Used?
These engines will be used for airport ground support equipment, agricultural power generation needs, underground mining, emergency power generation, material handling, scissor-lifts and forklifts, military applications, and off-road equipment.
I would think it would still be a real engine buster,, but.. they say..
These engines are designed like all new automotive engines are designed today, except with rugged nodular iron blocks and heads for industrial uses.
Oh, that ploy again?
I worked outside of Algona for awhile, on the foundations for a couple anhydrous ammonia tanks.. that ought to make the eyelids droop. ;-)
Yet this nation lets the tail wag the dog with the EnvironMentalists telling electeds not to allow drilling in our own land, not to build refineries or nuke plants.
We fight wars with kid gloves because the leftists chant "no blood for oil." Yet we try to fight to get the free flow of oil at market prices, with both our hands tied behind our backs, trying to "make it fair!"
We have all the power we need to resolve this issue and most others, yet we cow-tow to a totally corrupt leftist dominated United Nations so we can remain politically correct and supposedly occupy the so-called "moral highground!"
We keep doing it over and over, hoping for a different result that will never come... We are thus insane!!!
I don't understand the point.
Where does the hydrogen come from?
Hyrdogen production these days is quite expensive - and still uses other fuels to produce.
TT, I meant to thank you for posting the awful truth so as to help others see the light, but instead got all wrapped up in my rant! Please forgive me!!!
Didja see Billy Saul Estes???
And CA's idiot celebrity Republican RINO Governor!!!
Now let's hope we don't get $20 a barrel oilor lower that will
effectively kill it.
Yep. Don't you have to burn a lot of coal or natural gas to generate the electricity to make the hydrogen? Of course nuclear power would fix that part of the equation.
Didja see Billy Saul Estes???
No, can't say I did.
For those not familiar with the name.
The Ford 300 inline 6. One hell of a reliable workhorse. My dad bought F-150's for our company for years with this engine in them and they ran like clocks. Got an average of 250,000 miles out of them and that was in the 80's. Since we run everything until the wheels fall off, We have one of them that lasted about 370,000 miles.
the worst part is that even if this 'fantasy world' of combustible hydrogen power was feasable, it couldn't work. the left is promoting this as a way to slow down global warming. the most potent 'green house' gas known to man is water vapor. what comes out of the pipes of these "eco-friendly" cars? if every internal combustion engine was coverted to hydrogen tomorrow we would all be dead in a matter of years.
>>>>"Please forgive me!!!"<<<
Not until everyone else forgives me...
If they can get us off foreign energy sources, then more power to them.
"when it runs out just pi$$ in it for a few miles:)"
If they can get one to run on ammonia, then maybe you could.
There's too much oil for prices to keep going up, the deamnd/supply curves are crossing.
However, long term, I believe electric cars will sominate. The can be recharged with nuclear generated electricily...the ultimate "green car" that doesn't make the country dependent on anyone.
I suppose you know I meant "dominate" ?
yeah, it must be late. couldn't help it ;)
Understood. But somewhere in there they said something about trying to get it to run on ammonia. :)
Someone once told me a parable about how when things seem to be stuck in a mire [metaphorically], one must take things to the next level. Are you saying there is absolutely no hope of finding a viable alternative? [which I would say, totally stinks]. ...Truly, no alternative so just accept it?
And what's with the name "Hydrogen Engine," a company that is trying to make engines that burn alternative fuels including hydrogen?
Had a leftie on another forum ranting about how we should have been developing hydrogen fueled vehicles, instead of going to Iraq. When I asked "where are you getting your hydrogen", I shut him up for a short while.
Hydrogen embrittlement of steel is an ugly thing, no doubt. And not something the hydrogen shills want to talk about much.
nothing new about running a car on propane, natural gas,
or hydrogen gas. nothing