Are hydrogen powered cars about to make an impact?
A hydrogen powered MINI concept will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show
next week. It runs solely on hydrogen and shows the potential for a virtually
zero emissions vehicle that still offers good levels of performance.
MINI Cooper Hydrogen’s engine uses internal combustion technology – like
the BMW Clean Energy cars – and is based on the current 1.6 litre, four
cylinder petrol unit. However, the MINI features a new injection process in
which super-cooled liquid hydrogen is injected into the intake ducts where it
mixes with air before entering the cylinders for ignition. Previously, the
liquid hydrogen was heated to ambient temperature before combustion. This
super-cooled mixture increases the cylinder charge, boosting both engine output
and efficiency and offers a hydrogen engine that has the potential to match the
standards of a modern petrol engine in every respect.
The car also features a breakthrough in alternative fuel packaging with a
fuel tank that takes up the same space as a conventional fuel tank. To date,
cylindrical tanks had to be used which take up passenger or luggage space.
Trevor Houghton-Berry, General Manager for MINI in the UK said: "It’s
great to see the BMW Group basing some of its clean energy technology on MINI.
The car remains classless and hugely popular and displaying hydrogen technology
in the MINI points to an exciting and environmentally friendly future."