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Conversion of a commercial spark ignition engine to run

on hydrogen: Performance comparison using hydrogen


and gasoline
C. Sopena
a
, P.M. Dieguez
a
, D. Sa inz
a
, J.C. Urroz
a
, E. Guelbenzu
b
, L.M. Ganda
a,
*
a
Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales y de Telecomunicacion, Universidad Pu blica de Navarra, Campus de Arrosada,
E-31006 Pamplona, Spain
b
Acciona Biocombustibles S.A., Avenida Ciudad de la Innovacion n

5, E-31621 Sarriguren, Navarra, Spain


a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 9 September 2009
Received in revised form
12 November 2009
Accepted 12 November 2009
Available online 14 December 2009
Keywords:
Hydrogen-fueled internal
combustion engine
Spark ignition engine
Hydrogen fuel
Injection timing
Ignition timing
a b s t r a c t
The modications performed to convert the spark ignition gasoline-fueled internal
combustion engine of a Volkswagen Polo 1.4 to run with hydrogen are described. The car is
representative of small vehicles widely used for both city and interurban trafc. Main
changes included the inlet manifold, gas injectors, oil radiator and the electronic
management unit. Injection and ignition advance timing maps were developed for lean
mixtures with values of the air to hydrogen equivalence ratio (l) between 1.6 and 3. The
established engine control parameters allowed the safe operation of the hydrogen-fueled
engine (H
2
ICE) free of knock, backre and pre-ignition as well with reasonably low NO
x
emissions. The H
2
ICE reached best brake torque of 63 Nm at 3800 rpm and maximum brake
power of 32 kW at 5000 rpm. In general, the brake thermal efciency of the H
2
ICE is greater
than that of gasoline-fueled engine except for the H
2
ICE working at very lean conditions
(l 2.5) and high speeds (above 4000 rpm). A signicant effect of the spark advance on the
NO
x
emissions has been found, specially for relatively rich mixtures (l < 2). Small changes
of spark advance with respect to the optimum value for maximum brake torque give rise to
an increase of pollutant emissions. It has been estimated that the hydrogen-fueled
Volkswagen Polo could reach a maximum speed of 140 km/h with the adapted engine.
Moreover, there is enough reserve of power for the vehicle moving on typical urban routes
and routes with slopes up to 10%.
2009 Professor T. Nejat Veziroglu. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
The transport sector is a crucial element of the current ener-
getic and environmental policies because of the problems
associated to its almost complete dependence on petroleum
and very relevant contribution to greenhouse gases (GHG)
emissions. Despite the measures taken to comply with the
Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change, during the period 19902004, global CO
2
emissions increased by 27%, from 20,463 to 26,079 million
tons, and the energy demand from the transport sector
increased by 37% [1]. In this context, it is clear that stronger
legal frameworks are required, as it is the case of the
Renewable Energy Directive recently put in place by the
European Parliament [2]. According to this Directive each
Member State shall ensure that the energy from renewable
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 34 948 169 605; fax: 34 948 169 606.
E-mail addresses: caso@unavarra.es (C. Sopena), pmde@unavarra.es (P.M. Die guez), eguelbenzu@acciona.es (E. Guelbenzu),
lgandia@unavarra.es (L.M. Ganda).
Avai l abl e at www. sci encedi r ect . com
j our nal homepage: www. el sevi er . com/ l ocat e/ he
i nt e r na t i ona l j o ur na l o f hy d r o g e n e ne r g y 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9
0360-3199/$ see front matter 2009 Professor T. Nejat Veziroglu. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009.11.090
sources in all forms of transport in 2020 is at least 10% of the
nal consumption of energy in transport in that Member
State.
Hydrogen is considered as a clean way of powering vehi-
cles for the future since neither carbon-based pollutants nor
GHG would be emitted when hydrogen produced from
renewable sources is used. The European Parliament has
established requirements for the type-approval of motor
vehicles using hydrogen as fuel and for the type-approval,
installation and safety of hydrogen components and systems
in hydrogen-powered vehicles [3]. This regulation establishes
safety requirements in a technology-neutral basis since it is
taken into account that manufacturers might follow different
approaches to the development of these vehicles (e.g. using
fuel cells and electric drive motors, internal combustion
engines, hybrid congurations, different hydrogen onboard
storage methods, etc.). Of course, care should be taken that
hydrogen is produced cost-effectively from renewable energy
sources so that the overall environmental balance of intro-
ducing hydrogen as a fuel is positive. Muradov and Vezirog lu
[4] and Winter [5] have recently updated in their excellent
reviews critical aspects of hydrogen energy. Muradov and
Vezirog lu showed that neither of the three options (decar-
bonization of fossil energy, nuclear energy, and renewables)
currently considered could alone provide the carbon-free
power required by mid-century. These authors have proposed
a strategy for the transition to hydrogen economy in which
hydrogen produced from water using carbon-free energy
sources (nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal) would play a key
role [4]. According to Winter the cost of hydrogen from
renewables is by the moment prohibitive since renewable
energies are not yet fully developed to unsubsidized market
levels. However, renewables need hydrogen as a means of
energy storage in order to guarantee their contribution to the
world energy trade instead of being limited to local or regional
applications [5].
There is no doubt that the share of hydrogen-powered
vehicles in the total eet will increase in the near future.
However, it is not yet clear whether the hydrogen-fueled
internal combustion engines (H
2
ICEs) or the hydrogen-
powered fuel cell electric vehicles (H
2
FCEVs) will be the pre-
vailing solution since both options have advantages and
drawbacks. Interesting comparisons between them can be
found in the above-mentioned reviews [4,5] and more specic
information on each technology in the papers by Lee et al. [6],
Vandenborre and Sierens [7], Guo et al. [8], Sierens et al. [9,10],
Verhelst et al. [1113], White et al. [14], Mohammadi et al. [15],
Kahraman et al. [16], Szwaja and Grab-Rogalinski [17], Gomes
Antunes et al. [18] and Thomas [19].
Most car manufacturers are focusing their research and
development efforts on the H
2
FCEVs. But the cost of polymer
electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) is currently
prohibitively high and they require hydrogen of extremely
high purity (above 99.99%) thus making the fuel also more
expensive. Signicant technical advances as improved
PEMFCs reliability and durability and price reduction by
a factor of 2050 are necessary for PEMFCs to compete with
internal combustion engines (ICEs) [4]. On the other hand,
some important vehicle makers like BMW, Ford, Mazda and
MAN have developed and still continue developing cars and
buses powered by H
2
ICEs with very good performances
[2025]. Particularly relevant are the achievements made by
the BMWgroup with the mono-fuel vehicles of the Hydrogen 7
series. The spark ignition (SI) engines of 6.0 l consist of 12
cylinders in V achieving a maximum brake torque (MBT) of
390 Nm at 4300 rpm and maximum brake power (MBP) of
192 kW at 5100 rpm. Emissions levels are well below the Super
Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles standard for nitrogen oxides
(NO
x
) and the hydrogen consumption for the highway cycle is
only 2.1 kg per 100 km [25].
Main argument in favor of H
2
ICEs in the short term may be
that they are based on a very well-known technology with
more than one hundred twenty years of experience so
implementing H
2
ICEs in vehicles may be easy and fast. It will
also allow taking advantage of manufacturing infrastructure
now in operation for conventional ICEs. Moreover, current
costs are considerable lower than that of PEMFCs and H
2
ICEs
can run on relatively cheap hydrogen of industrial quality.
Perhaps H
2
ICE might be a transitional technology contributing
to a more rapid introduction of hydrogen in the transport
sector while H
2
FCVs and hybrid congurations continue
developing [5,14].
In this work the steps followed to convert a commercial SI
ICE to run on hydrogen are described. An engine from
Nomenclature
Acronyms
BDC bottom dead center
BTDC before top dead center
DAS data acquisition system
ECU electronic control unit
GHG greenhouse gases
HC hydrocarbons
H
2
FCEV hydrogen-fueled fuel cell electric vehicle
H
2
ICE hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine
ICE internal combustion engine
LEL lower explosive limit
PEMFC polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell
PFI port fuel injection
MBP maximum brake power
MBT maximum brake torque
NO
x
nitrogen oxides
SI spark ignition
TWC three-way catalyst
WOT wide open throttle
Symbols
bmep brake mean effective pressure, kPa
bsfceq brake specic fuel consumption of gasoline
equivalent, g/kWh
Greek
l air to fuel equivalence ratio (lambda)
i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f hy d r og e n e ne r gy 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9 1421
Volkswagen (Polo 1.4) was selected for this study. The features
of the experimental facilities, safety measures and the
comparison of the engine performances when operated on
gasoline and hydrogen are presented as well. This work has
been carried out in the framework of a R&D contract granted
by Acciona Biocombustibles S.A. (a branch of Acciona Ener-
g a), a company whose activities are focused in the renew-
ables sector [26]. Previous works by our group dealt with
renewable hydrogen production from water electrolysis and
wind energy [2730].
2. Engine specications and modications
performed
The original engine was a four-cylinder naturally aspirated SI
motor mounted in the Volkswagen Polo 1.4. The motor was
kindly donated by Volkswagen Navarra S.A. When run on
gasoline MBT and MBP were 132 Nm at 3800 rpm and 59 kW at
5000 rpm, respectively. Main engine characteristics are
summarized in Table 1. All the engine transformations and
the complete test program of the resulting H
2
ICE were carried
out at the Laboratory of Internal Combustion Engines of the
Public University of Navarra. To this end the test cell was
adapted to work with hydrogen by means of suitable
hydrogen supply and safety systems.
Main motivation of this work was to show the technical
viability of the engine conversion in order to obtain a H
2
ICE
with performances well suited for using it in a Volkswagen
Polo demonstration car taking care that the engine operates
safely in all conditions and with acceptable level of NO
x
emissions.
As it is well-known, the unique combustion characteristics
of hydrogen (very low ignition energies, wide ammability
limits of hydrogenair mixtures and very high ame propa-
gation speed) are very advantageous for SI engines at low
loads when safe lean burn operation at wide open throttle
(WOT) is possible [1114]. However, the same characteristics
give rise to some limitations at high engine loads when the
mixture becomes richer, due to the risk of pre-ignition,
backre, knock and increased NO
x
emissions. With the so-
called advanced hydrogen engines [14] it is intended to over-
come these limitations by implementing direct hydrogen
injection into the cylinders [15] or supercharging combined
with exhaust gas recirculation [13] solutions. In our case,
whereas the original motor block is preserved, the main
changes have been made in the fuel feeding system using
naturally aspirated gaseous port fuel injection (PFI) and in the
electronic management system. Some minor changes as in
the exhaust system have been made as well. These modi-
cations are described in more detail in the following
subsections.
2.1. Hydrogen feeding system
The inlet manifold in plastic of the original engine was
replaced by a cast manifold to prevent breakdown in case of
backre (explosion of the air-fuel mixture in the inlet mani-
fold [11]). The gasoline injectors were substituted by hydrogen
injectors manufactured by Quantum Technologies; therefore,
it was necessary to adapt the holes where the injectors are
placed in the intake manifold. In order to prevent hydrogen
leakages due to engine vibration the injectors were rmly
xed to the manifold by means of a support. As shown in Fig. 1
a gas accumulator was manufactured and connected to the
injectors through stainless steel tubes in order to maintain
constant the pressure at the injectors inlet. Hydrogen is fed to
the accumulator at low-pressure from the supply line through
exible tubing to compensate for engine vibrations. The
accumulator has another entry connected to a venting line to
purge the complete circuit with nitrogen gas in case of
emergency or prolonged shutdown.
2.2. Electronic management system
The electronic control unit (ECU) of the original engine was
replaced by a programmable MoteC M 400 unit. Most of the
sensors and actuators of the original engine were retained;
however, the original lambda sensor was removed and
Table 1 Specications of the original engine.
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Base vehicle Polo 1.4
Type Spark ignition
Fuel Gasoline 95 NO
Cylinder line/head material Aluminium
Number of cylinders 4 in line
Bore/Stroke (mm) 76.5/75.6
Swept volume (cm
3
) 1390
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Valve train conguration DOHC
Number of valves per cylinder 4
Fuel injection system Port-injection
Ignition system Single spark ignition coil
Maximum brake power 59 kW at 5000 rpm
Maximum brake torque 132 Nm at 3800 rpm
Load control Drive by wire
Fig. 1 Photograph of the hydrogen feeding system of the
H
2
ICE: 1) hydrogen injectors; 2) support; 3) low-pressure
hydrogen accumulator; 4) hydrogen inlet; 5) purging
nitrogen inlet.
i nt e r na t i ona l j o ur na l o f hy d r o g e n e ne r g y 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9 1422
replaced by a wideband lambda sensor (Bosch LSU 4.9) and
a newoil temperature sensor was mounted. It should be noted
that the original lambda sensor was a binary one that only
allowed mixture control close to stoichiometric conditions
(l 1). As the H
2
ICE is fed with lean mixtures (l values
between1.5 and 3), a newwideband lambda sensor is required
for proper operation. Sensors and actuators were connected to
the MoteC unit and were calibrated either directly with the
MoteC or in some cases obtaining calibration functions
externally and then introducing them in the MoteC. On the
basis of the test program carried out in the test bed, injection
and ignition timing maps were obtained as explained in
Section 4.
2.3. Other modications
A wateroil heat exchanger was installed close to the oil lter
to maintain as constant as possible the oil temperature. The
crankcase venting pipe was replaced by another of larger
diameter to reduce the possibility that hydrogen accumulated
in the carter and thus reducing the risk of ammable mixtures
formation in the crankcase. The exhaust was modied by
removing the three-way catalyst (TWC) because the H
2
ICE was
operated with lean hydrogenair mixtures so, as will be
shown, the NO
x
formation is low due to the relatively low
combustion temperatures. It should be noted that the TWC
operates efciently when stoichiometric or slightly rich
mixtures are used due to the presence in the exhaust gases of
reducing chemical species (e.g. unburned hydrogen).
3. Test facilities
The testing bed cell of the laboratory was adapted to work
with hydrogen with the greatest possible safety. A data
acquisition system (DAS) was mounted that allowed on-line
collecting and storage of most of the engine sensors and
actuators signals as well as that of the auxiliary equipment
installed (hydrogen and air mass-ow meters, in-cylinder
pressure transducer, etc.). A scheme of the experimental
set-up is shown in Fig. 2.
3.1. Test bed cell
The test bed cell consisted of an eddy current dynamometer
AVL 80 capable of absorbing up to 80 kW of power, with a BME
Fig. 2 Scheme of the experimental set-up: 1 & 2) hydrogen and nitrogen high-pressure regulators; 3 & 4) solenoid gas
shutoff valves; 5) low-pressure regulator; 6) safety valve; 7) manual purge valve; 8) solenoid purge valve; 9) hydrogen mass-
ow meter; 10) non-return valve; 11) air mass-ow meter; 12) air lter; 13) engine hydrogen sensor; 14) test bed cell
hydrogen sensor; 15) MoteC M 400 ECU; 16) working pressure regulator.
i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f hy d r og e n e ne r gy 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9 1423
300 control system allowing performing tests using as control
parameters the torque, the accelerator position and the
engine speed. The engine was mounted on the test bench
which included a Bosch analyzer to determine CO, CO
2
,
hydrocarbons (HC) and O
2
and a Horiba 730 analyzer to
determine NO
x
in the exhaust gases.
The gas supply system consisted of two lines, one for
hydrogen of industrial quality and the other for nitrogen.
Nitrogen is used to purge the hydrogen line prior to start-up
when the H
2
ICE is not used for long time or in the even of an
emergency; such an incident has never occurred on the
modied engine during the test period. Both lines are fed by
gas cylinders of 50 l at 200 bar (Air Liquide). Control of the
hydrogen feeding system is governed by a programmable
controller performing the functions of hydrogen supply,
nitrogen purge and emergency stop.
The safety equipment consisted of two hydrogen sensors
TQ122 (electrochemical type), capable of detecting hydrogen
concentrations well below the lower explosive level (LEL) of
hydrogen/air mixtures. One is located just above the engine
feeding system, and the other on the test bed cell ceiling close
to the hydrogen supply line. These sensors are connected to
a control unit TQ4000 with two adjustable alarm levels, which
indicated the concentration of hydrogen in the room. The
safety system was designed in such a way that supplying
hydrogen is not possible if the sensors are not in operation. If
the second alarm level is reached, the controller will auto-
matically stop the hydrogen supply and the line would be
purged with nitrogen. The operator can also make manually
a nitrogen purge, if necessary. The test cell ventilation system
is equipped with an extractor for the engine exhaust as well as
a blower allowing the complete air renewal of the cell in less
than two minutes. All the extracted gases are sent out of the
building. Similar safety measures have been adopted in
related works [21,25].
3.2. Data acquisition system
The data acquisition system (DAS) consisted of a National
Instruments Ni-CompacDAQ with three modules measuring
up to eight channels. It allowed collecting, showing real-time
and storing in a computer with a LabView program signals
from the main engine sensors and actuators, as well as
additional signals like brake torque, engine speed, hydrogen
and air ow-rates, knock sensor, NO
x
and O
2
in the exhaust,
etc. The engine was also equipped with a Kistler measuring
spark plug with integrated cylinder pressure sensor and
a Kistler crank angle encoder.
4. Engine management parameters
The engine control was done by means of a MoteC M 400
electronic control unit in which injection and ignition timing
maps were introduced. MoteC receives signals from engine
sensors and gives the output signals to the actuators, essen-
tially, width injection pulse and ignition timing. Management
included also idle control, water and air temperature correc-
tions, maximum speed engine control and air to fuel equiva-
lence ratio (l) control. To this end, the narrow original lambda
sensor was replaced by a wide lambda sensor Bosch LSU 4.9
that was calibrated to be used with hydrogen fuel.
Injection and ignition timing maps introduced in the ECU
were obtained from the results of tests conducted in the
engine test bed. Engine speeds varying between idling and
5000 rpm and loads between unloaded and fully loaded were
considered.
1400
2200
3000
3800
4400
4800
0
20
40
60
100
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
ms
rev/min
% Load
Fig. 3 Representative injection map showing the duration
of the injection pulse (ms) as a function of the engine load
(%) and speed (rpm) for l [ 2.
0
10
20
30
1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5500
rev/min
S
p
a
r
k

a
d
v
a
n
c
e
Spark advance for lambda 1.6 and WOT spark advance for lambda 2 and WOT
spark advance for lambda 2.5 and WOT Spark advance for lambda 1.6 and 50% throttled
Spark advance for lambda 2 and 50% throttled Spark advance for lambda 2.5 and 50% throttled
Fig. 4 Ignition advance in degrees BTDC as a function of the engine speed (rpm) for l values of 1.6, 2 and 2.5 at WOT and
50% throttled engine.
i nt e r na t i ona l j o ur na l o f hy d r o g e n e ne r g y 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9 1424
4.1. Injection timing
Injection timing has a strong inuence on the engine perfor-
mance at low loads and speeds; this parameter can be
adjusted also to avoid backre [11]. The strategy followed for
drawing up injection maps was working with l constant in the
1.63 range at all loads varying the torque throughthe throttle.
Values of l lower than 3 have been selected in this work in
order to avoid incomplete hydrogen combustion, especially at
high loads and low engine speeds. On the other hand, when
using air to fuel equivalence ratios richer than 1.6 there is the
possibility of knock in some cases at full load and high engine
speeds.
The start of hydrogen injection was chosen at the same
point of the cycle in all cases. That point corresponded to the
moment when the exhaust valve closed in order to ensure
that there is no leakage of hydrogen in the exhaust manifold
while the exhaust valve has been somewhat cooled with the
inlet air thus reducing the possibility of backre. By choosing
this point, it was achieved for all loads and engine speeds that
the injection nished before the inlet valve closed and in most
cases even before the piston reached bottom dead center
(BDC) during the intake stroke. A representative injection map
can be seen in Fig. 3 where the duration of the injection pulse
is given as a function of the engine speed and load.
4.2. Ignition timing
The ignition advance maps were developed using the ignition
timing allowing maximumbrake torque (MBT) with the lowest
NO
x
emissions. A very conservative approach was adopted,
namely, retarding the ignition advance to values which are far
from producing knock (autoignition of the mixture ahead of
the ame front originated from the spark [14]).
In contrast with the case of gasoline-fueled engines [31],
we have found that for the H
2
ICE the optimal spark advance
for MBT depended essentially on l except for low loads and
speeds. This can be clearly seen in Fig. 4 where the ignition
advance in crank angle degrees before top dead center (BTDC)
is given as a function of the engine speed for l values of 1.6, 2
and 2.5 at WOT and 50% throttled engine. It is also shown that
there is almost no difference between throttled or unthrottled
operation (low load inuence) at engine speeds above about
1800 rpm and l greater than 2. The combustion is faster with
1000
2200
3800
4800
0
20
40
60
100
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
S
p
a
r
k

a
d
v
a
n
c
e
rev/min
Load %
Fig. 5 Representative ignition map showing the spark
advance in degrees BTDC as a function of the engine load
(%) and speed (rpm) for l [ 2.
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
rev/min
b
m
e
p

(
k
P
a
)
bmep with gasoline bmep with lambda 1.6
bmep with lambda 2 bmep with lambda 2.5
Fig. 6 Brake mean effective pressure (kPa) at WOT versus
engine speed (rpm) for l values of 1.6, 2 and 2.5. Values of
bmep for the gasoline-fueled engine are also included.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
rev/min
k
W
Brake power for gasoline fuelled engine
Brake power for H2ICE for lambda 1.6
Fig. 7 Brake power (kW) at WOT versus engine speed
(rpm) for the gasoline-fueled engine and the H
2
ICE with
l [ 1.6.
200
225
250
275
300
325
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
rev/min
B
s
f
c

(
g
/
k
W
h
)
Bsfc with gasoline Bsfceq with lambda 1.6
Bsfceq with lambda 2 Bsfceq with lambda 2.5
Fig. 8 Brake specic fuel consumtion of gasoline
equivalent (g/kWh) at WOT versus engine speed (rpm) for l
values of 1.6, 2 and 2.5. Values of fuel consumption for the
gasoline-fueled engine are also included.
i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f hy d r og e n e ne r gy 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9 1425
rich mixtures (lower values of l) thus requiring less spark
advance. A representative ignition map can be seen in Fig. 5,
where the ignition timing is given in crank angle degrees
BTDC as a function of the engine speed and load.
5. Results: engine performance
The performance of the H
2
ICE has been evaluated in terms of
the brake mean effective pressure, brake power, brake specic
fuel consumption, and pollutants emissions. These parame-
ters were compared with those provided by the original
gasoline-fueled engine. It has been also estimated the
performance that could achieve a Volkswagen Polo powered
by the H
2
ICE.
5.1. Brake mean effective pressure, brake power and
brake specic fuel consumption
Brake mean effective pressure (bmep) of the H
2
ICE as a func-
tion of the engine speed for l values of 1.6, 2 and 2.5 at WOT
are compared in Fig. 6 with the bmep of the gasoline-fueled
engine. The bmep obtained with the H
2
ICE are within the
values that could be expected. This is because for l values of
1.6, 2 and 2.5, theoretical bmep to obtain the same brake
thermal efciency are 50, 42 and 35%, respectively, of the
gasoline-fueled engine bmep because less air enters the
cylinders due to the low density of hydrogen [25]. Maximum
bmep of the H
2
ICE is achieved at the same engine speed than
with the gasoline engine. This indicates that the engine speed
at which the H
2
ICE reaches the maximum volumetric ef-
ciency is similar to the value when it is run on gasoline. Of
course, lower bmep are obtained when leaner (higher l)
hydrogenair mixtures are fed.
As concerns the brake power, the results are shown in
Fig. 7. The maximumH
2
ICE brake power is limited because the
maximum engine speed has been limited as well (5000 rpm).
The H
2
ICE reached a MBP of 32 kW at WOT with l 1.6. When
the engine was fueled with gasoline MBP was 59 kW at
5000 rpm.
Brake specic fuel consumption of gasoline equivalent
(bsfceq) for l values of 1.6, 2 and 2.5 at WOT are compared in
Fig. 8 with the brake specic consumption of gasoline. The
results show that the H
2
ICE has better brake thermal ef-
ciencies than the gasoline-fueled engine, especially at lowand
medium speeds. This could be due to the fact that hydrogen
combustion is faster and closer to a constant volume process,
and then with a more efcient thermodynamic cycle than that
of gasoline combustion. This is a remarkable result taking into
account that l values used with the H
2
ICE are higher than for
the gasoline-fueled engine which runs on stoichiometric
(l 1) or slightly rich mixtures. In the case of the H
2
ICE, it can
be seen that the lowest bsfceq corresponds to the richest
mixture considered (l 1.6) which is then the most brake
thermal efcient. The leanest mixture (l 2.5) is the lowest
efcient except for very low engine speeds. This could be
attributed to a lower efciency of very lean mixtures
combustion because of the higher proportion of unburned
hydrogen and slower combustion for a given engine speed
[6,9,22].
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
rev/min
N
O
x

(
p
p
m
)
NOx for lambda 1.6 NOx for lambda 2 NOx for lambda 2.5
Fig. 9 NO
x
emissions (ppm) at WOT versus engine speed
(rpm) for l values of 1.6, 2 and 2.5.
1800
2600
3400
4200
5000
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
N
O
x

(
p
p
m
)
rev/min
= 1.6
Ignition advance for MBT-5 Ignition advance for MBT
Ignition advance for MBT+5
Ignition advance for MBT-5 Ignition advance for MBT
Ignition advance for MBT+5
1800
2600
3400
4200
5000
94
96
98
100
102
104
%

b
m
e
p

r
e
s
p
e
c
t

b
m
e
p

f
o
r

M
B
T
rev/min

= 1.6
A
B
Fig. 10 Effect of varying 58 the ignition advance for MBT on
the NO
x
emissions (A) and brake mean effective pressure
(bmep) change with respect to MBT bmep (B) at l [ 1.6.
i nt e r na t i ona l j o ur na l o f hy d r o g e n e ne r g y 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9 1426
5.2. Pollutant emissions
It has been found that CO and unburned hydrocarbons (HC)
emissions due to lubricating oil combustion are extremely
low. The most important pollutants in the exhaust were
nitrogen oxides (NO
x
). Unburned hydrogen emissions were
negligible for l values lower than 3.
NO
x
emissions for l values of 1.6, 2 and 2.5 at WOT are
compared in Fig. 9. It should be noted that the TWC of the
original engine was removed and NO
x
emissions for the
gasoline-fueled engine are not available. As expected, NO
x
emissions increase when the mixture becomes richer because
the maximum combustion temperature increases as l
decreases. It has been found that for air to fuel equivalence
ratios higher than 1.8, low NO
x
emissions of the order of
5075 ppm, are produced. For l 1.6 the NO
x
emissions varied
between about 350 and 550 ppm depending on the engine
speed. Although signicant, these values are well below the
10002500 ppm range, typical of the gasoline-fueled engines
[31]. Nevertheless, it should be noted that maximum NO
x
emissions of hydrogen-fueled engines of the order of
10000 ppm usually take place with l 1.3. This is mainly why
in spite of the lower power output, lean burn operation of
H
2
ICEs is recommended [6,14,22].
We have also found that NO
x
emissions were very sensitive
to the spark advance, specially for relatively rich mixtures
(l < 2). Small changes of spark advance with respect to the
optimum value for MBT give rise to an increase of nitrogen
oxides emissions. This is illustrated in Figs. 10, 11 and 12,
where the effect of varying 5

the ignition advance for MBT on


the NO
x
emissions and brake mean effective pressure (bmep)
are shown for l values of 1.6, 1.87 and 2, respectively. On
1800
2400
3000
3600
4200
4800
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
N
O
x

(
p
p
m
)
rev/min
= 1.87
Ignition advance MBT-5 Ignition advance for MBT
Ignition advance MBT+5
Ignition advance MBT-5 Ignition advance for MBT
Ignition advance MBT+5
1800
2400
3000
3600
4200
4800
96
98
100
102
%
b
m
e
p

r
e
s
p
e
c
t

b
m
e
p

f
o
r

M
B
T
rev/min
= 1.87
A
B
Fig. 11 Effect of the variation of the ignition advance for
MBT (MBTL58, MBTD58) on the NO
x
emissions (A) and
brake mean effective pressure (bmep) change with respect
to MBT bmep (B) at l [ 1.87.
1800
2600
3400
4200
5000
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
N
O
x

(
p
p
m
)
rev/min
= 2
Ignition advance MBT-5 Ignition advance for MBT
Ignition advance MBT+5
1800
2600
3400
4200
5000
94
96
98
100
102
104
%

b
m
e
p

r
e
s
p
e
c
t

b
m
e
p

f
o
r

M
B
T
rev/min
= 2
Ignition advance MBT-5 Ignition advance for MBT
Ignition advance MBT+5
B
A
Fig. 12 Effect of the variation of the ignition advance for
MBT (MBTL58, MBTD58) on the NO
x
emissions (A) and
brake mean effective pressure (bmep) change with respect
to MBT bmep (B) at l [ 2.
i nt e r na t i o na l j o ur na l o f hy d r og e n e ne r gy 3 5 ( 2 0 1 0 ) 1 4 2 0 1 4 2 9 1427
changing the spark advance 5

it can be seen in Fig. 10 A that


the NO
x
emissions at l 1.6 almost double whereas the bmep
only increases 12% (Fig. 10B). On the other hand, a change of
5

reduces the nitrogen oxides emissions but the brake mean


effective pressure decreases markedly, specially at high
engine speeds, above 3000 rpm (Fig. 10B). As the mixture
becomes leaner, the inuence of the spark advance on the
NO
x
emissions decreases. This is clearly seen in Fig. 12 A
where at l 2 the nitrogen oxides emissions change with the
spark advance only at engine speeds above 3400 rpm; anyway,
in this case, the NO
x
concentrationa are low, below 70 ppm. In
contrast, the negative effect of changing 5

the advance for


MBT on the brake mean effective pressure is maintained
under leaner conditions, as can be seenin Figs. 11B and 12B for
l 1.87 and 2, respectively.
5.3. Expected performance of the hydrogen-powered
vehicle
The brake power required to move the Volkswagen Polo car in
horizontal and straight line trajectory with constant speed is
compared in Fig. 13 with the brake power delivered by the
H
2
ICE working with l 1.6 and the gearbox ratio 1.0 [20,32]. It
can be seen that the hydrogen-fueled engine gives power
enough for the vehicle reaches a maximumspeed of 140 km/h
in the above-mentioned conditions. This speed is suitable for
driving safely a vehicle of these characteristics. Moreover,
there is enough reserve of power for the vehicle moving
smoothly on an urban route because the speed limit in these
routes is usually established at 50 km/h. On the other hand,
for roads with slopes of 5 and 10% and using the original
gearbox, which was not designed for the H
2
ICE, the car would
be able to achieve maximum speeds of 105 km/h (third speed
transmission) and 70 km/h (second speed transmission),
respectively.
6. Conclusions and future work
The conversion of the SI gasoline-fueled ICE of a Volkswagen
Polo 1.4 car to run on hydrogen has been carried out. Main
mechanical modications included the inlet manifold, low-
pressure hydrogen accumulator, gas injectors and oil radiator.
The cost of the new components is similar to that of the items
replaced. The original electronic control unit was replaced by
a programmable ECU MoteC M 400 whose cost is more than
twice that of the original ECU. However, it was chosen due to
its great exibility to perform the test program that allowed
obtaining the injection and ignition timing maps of the
modied engine. In the event of using the H
2
ICE in
a commercial vehicle the ECU would be similar to that of the
original engine.
Injection timing maps have been developed for air to
hydrogen equivalence ratios between 1.6 and 3, from unloa-
ded engine to full load and engine speeds between idling and
5000 rpm. Spark ignition advance maps have been obtained
choosing advance values getting MBT compatible with low
NO
x
emissions. It has been found that if l < 2 the main factor
inuencing the ignition advance is the mixture richness.
The performance of the H
2
ICE has been evaluated in
a suitably adapted test bed cell and compared with the
performance of the gasoline-fueled engine. The results are
within the expected values: the H
2
ICE is capable of providing
a brake torque of 63 Nm at 3800 rpm and MBP of 32 kW at
5000 rpm. The brake thermal efciency of the H
2
ICE is greater
than that of gasoline-fueled engine except for l > 1.8. The
brake thermal efciency decreases as l decreases from 3 to
1.6. The H
2
ICE performance is suitable to power the Volks-
wagen Polo 1.4. The vehicle would be capable of reaching
a maximum speed of 140 km/h in horizontal and straight line
trajectory. Moreover, there is enough reserve of power for the
vehicle moving on an urban route and roads with slopes up
to 10%.
Further work will be focused in supercharging the H
2
ICE
with a mechanical compressor to increase the brake torque
and power output. It is also being considered to introduce the
control of the different engine loads in a similar way as in
compression-ignition engines, that is, working at WOT and
changing the air to fuel equivalence ratio. The pumping losses
will be decreased with this strategy and it is expected that the
H
2
ICE brake thermal efciency will increase.
Acknowledgements
We gratefully acknowledge Acciona Biocombustibles S.A. for
its nancial support under R&D contract to the Public
University of Navarra OTRI 2006 13 118 (CENIT project:
SPHERA) and Volkswagen Navarra S.A. for the Volkswagen
Polo 1.4 engine donation. LMG and PMD also acknowledge
nancial support by Ministry of Science and Innovation of the
Spanish Government (MAT2006-12386-C05-04).
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5
10
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30
35
40
30 50 70 90 110 130 150
km/h
k
W
Brake power (kW) required
Brake power (kW) delivered by hidrogen engine with lambda 1.6
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