Ford is experimenting with hydrogen-fueled combustion engines, according to patent records. The invention, which should not be confused with fuel cell powertrains, is for a normal internal-combustion engine that would simply burn hydrogen instead of gasoline or diesel, resulting in zero harmful emissions as a consequence.
In a patent application submitted with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a technique of hydrogen combustion in conjunction with turbocharging and exhaust gas recirculation is described. Muscle Cars & Trucks was the first to notice the patent application. Notably, a hydrogen engine of this type would be capable of running with a far thinner mixture than normal gasoline engines, which would be advantageous.
Ford also believes that a hydrogen engine may be utilized as part of a hybrid powertrain, with an electric motor-generator being positioned between the engine and gearbox, according to the application.
Hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines are not a new concept. When BMW introduced the Hydrogen 7, a 7-Series car driven by a hydrogen-fueled V-12, it was in the early 2000s. A hydrogen racing engine for the Japanese Super Taikyu series has recently been developed in collaboration with Toyota and Yamaha, according to a press release. Following that, the two businesses intend to develop a hydrogen V-8 based on the 5.0-liter engine from the Lexus RC F sports car.
In a statement, Toyota stated that it thinks hydrogen would be able to reduce the environmental effect of combustion engines, allowing them to continue to be used by driving enthusiasts. It’s possible that Ford is thinking along the same lines.
However, there are other possible difficulties with hydrogen that might make this proposal unfeasible. Fuel infrastructure is still in its infancy, and the processes of manufacturing and delivery can generate considerable amounts of pollutants. Fuel cells, in turn, are a more inefficient form of energy storage than batteries, and it is possible that hydrogen combustion engines will prove to be less efficient as well.