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
Yes, and I have posted numerous times that the first change in direction will be to synthesize gasoline from coal. Germany did during World War II and South Africa is doing it today.
I think you and I might have exchanged posts on this before. My point was that I believe hydrogen is a boondoggle - a waste of time and resources. The only way it could work would be tank exchange, which would require an entire new infrastructure.
The one technology breakthrough that would reduce our consumption would be to find a way to put our trains, trucks, and cars on the electric grid, at least on major routes. That would require changing to electric-drive hybrid vehicles, electrification on major routes, and some kind of trolley system for vehicles, along with a metering system to pay for usage.
Your vehicle could charge its batteries from the grid, or from its on-board generator when needed, when you were traveling away from the grid.
Hydrogen most certainly isn't for cars. But as an energy transfer system could it be more efficient than electricity? A fuel cell in every house? A heating plant that exhausts water vapor and nothing else? A distribution system that for the most part exists as natural gas lines that don't lose the huge percentage in transmission that electricity does? An energy transfer system that can have the production located near the energy source i.e., hydroelectric, solar or atomic? An energy transfer system that can be stored as opposed to electricity that must have expensive peak demand capacity?
Drawbacks? The initial energy transfer if you start with water can't be very good since half the energy goes into free oxygen. If you start with natural gas - well what would be the point?
You can't scream that loud enough to suit me. Hydrogen as a fuel is insane. There is so little energy available, and it takes as much or more energy to isolate the hydrogen in the first place, that makes hydrogen a net waster of energy.
The purpose of all this is to separate people from their personal mobility and freedom. Immobilized people are easier to control.
Maybe you were right, just a bit early...
Right on TT,. hydrogen is the world's most invasive acid in a combustion cycle. It destroys all metals.
That's my take on it as well.
Just what is the engine octane rating (as opposed to the "research" value) of hydrogen? I was under the impression that it only had a value of 60.
There you go AGAIN!!! Waxing profound and going oh so deep!!!
But all kidding aside, you speak the truth! And soon we'll all be in dire straights if we don't find ways to secure our freedom through mobility... quickly, even if we must re-learn hiking and walking which is way more primitive than I would enjoy!!!
Only the EnvironMentalist/Pagan dirt worshipping Luddite creeple people want us back on our feet, grinding our nuts on the rocks like a bunch of ignorant savages!!!
"Somebody needs to do something now."
'Somebody' needed to do something decades ago. *Rolleyes* Why energy independence is so HARD for our Government/Legislators to figure out is beyond me! It's not like there aren't a hundred great ideas posted here every d@mn day! Rush uses us as Show Prep...why don't our CongressCritters use us in the same manner? ;)
But I thought the new "craze" was Ethonol? From what I've read, we're going to tear up all of The Heartland and plant corn and soybeans and sawgrass and sugar beets to fuel our cars. ;)
"Immobilized people are easier to control."
Exactly. The Socialists want to shove us all back into little boxes in The City, packed in like rats.
Years ago, there used to be something called a "carbide engine", which was fueled by dropping pieces of Calcium Carbide in water, and collecting the fumes that came up from the surface of the water, then using these fumes to fuel an internal-combustion engine.
I guess the reaction was the formation of acetylene gas from the carbide as it combined with water, and the other byproduct was Calcium Hydroxide. The acetylene mixed with the oxygen in air within a collection chanber, no attempt to use any kind of carburetor, the mixture was just sucked into the intake manifold.
Calcium Carbide was some kind of byproduct in the reduction of iron ore in the presence of coke and limestone.
"Now let's hope we don't get $20 a barrel oilor lower that will
effectively kill it."
Drill California, on and off shore and execute it immediatly!!!!
It doesn't deserve a slow death.
Crisis in a nutshell. Edison had no EPA. His inventions were at first crude and inefficient. His first light bulb was very inefficient. Gradually it was perfected.... wthout an EPA. True of most inventors.
Some think government is the solution. Some think government is the problem. - RR
How about a vehicle with a toilet in place of the driver's seat? Runs on your own crap.
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