NOx emission reduced by 16.6%
Turbo charged engine under development
Australian-based green energy developer Eden Energy Limited has successfully tested a production-ready 6-litre engine that will enable Indian bus manufacturer Ashok Leyland to power buses with Eden’s low-emission blend of hydrogen-enriched natural gas (HCNG) marketed under the company’s proprietary Hythane trademark. The 2010 H06B CNG engine – developed by Eden’s wholly-owned US subsidiary, Hythane Company, at Ashok Leyland’s Hosur laboratory in India – was initially designed to meet the country’s current Bharat IV (Euro IV equivalent) mandatory emissions targets. Justin Fulton, Hythane Company’s Director of Engine and Fuel Systems, said the results from last month’s calibrated control system and exhaust catalyst for the naturally-aspirated engine would comply with the next generation of Bharat V (Euro V) requirements, ensuring a long production life for the HO6 engine.
Eden Energy states that over the “European Transient Cycle” (ETC), an engine dynamometer test that simulates real-world driving conditions for heavy-duty vehicles, the engine tests of the HCNG blend yielded the following improvements relative to the natural gas baseline:
- Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions reduced by 16.6%
- Total hydrocarbon (THC) emissions reduced by 15.1%, including a non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) reduction of 66.6%
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduced by 6.2%
- Fuel efficiency improvement of 6.5% based on fuel combustion energy.
“Although the use of natural gas buses has reduced pollution over the past 5 to 10 years in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, NOx and smog continue to be a serious health problem,” Mr Fulton said. “The use of Hythane fuel in the nation’s municipal buses will make a significant reduction in these pollutants, without any power or performance penalties, and without expensive engine or vehicle add-on equipment.”
Eden Energy claims the real-world driving cycle fuel efficiency improvement with Hythane fuel could provide up to 5% lower operating costs for the bus operators with industrial-scale hydrogen production sources for vehicle fuel. They say that even for small on-site hydrogen production at each refuelling station, the efficiency increase at least covers the extra cost of the hydrogen in the fuel blend, so the emissions improvements are free.
In the near future, Eden Energy says Ashok Leyland will also release turbo-charged versions of the H06 engine, and the control system strategies used for these engines will allow them to take advantage of hydrogen’s unique combustion properties above and beyond the improvements seen in the base HCNG engine.
Preliminary investigations on the new engines began in April after the base engine production calibration work, and production-intent optimisation by Hythane Company and Ashok Leyland will continue this year.
Hythane Company’s President, Roger Marmaro, said “While pure-hydrogen engine and fuel cell technology continues to advance, the immediate availability and leveraged benefits of hydrogen natural gas fuel blends will allow Hythane engines to play the most significant role in meeting India’s Vision 2020 goals and promoting the development of a new hydrogen economy.”
India joined the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE) as a founding member in 2003. By 2006, a National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap was created to plan for a gradual, practical transition to hydrogen energy and infrastructure, including power generation and transport applications. The Roadmap’s Vision 2020, through the Green Initiatives for Transport (GIFT), calls for 1 million vehicles to be operating on hydrogen fuels by 2020.
The release of India’s first production HCNG engine will precede the country’s first large-scale refuelling station for hydrogen-enriched natural gas. Due to be constructed by the end of the year, the station will refuel 50 to 70 buses in Mumbai. In addition to the Ashok Leyland buses, another major Indian bus manufacturer has approved in principle a development project to recalibrate their engines for optimised HCNG fuel operation in 2010.