Ford patents a hydrogen-powered combustion engine
Earlier this month, Ford announced it was splitting its business into two separate divisions. The Model E will be responsible for all-electric vehicles in the future and a number of new electric vehicles are currently under development. In turn, the Blue division will work on combustion models and it seems that it could work on a very interesting project, judging by a recent patent.
Muscle cars and trucks discovered a patent filed by Ford with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a combustion engine running on hydrogen. A typical hydrogen vehicle uses a propulsion system similar to that of an electric vehicle, where the energy stored in the form of hydrogen is converted into electricity by the fuel cell. However, Ford’s new patent is for a turbocharged combustion engine running on hydrogen.
MCTs reports that, at least on paper, the company’s engine should be able to operate over a wide range of air/fuel lambda values. Just like in a standard modern internal combustion engine, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and valve timing would be used to control the combustion process. According to available information, the engine would be capable of lambda values above 2.00, which would mean an air/fuel mixture of at least 68 parts air to 1 part hydrogen. For comparison, a gasoline engine can vary between 0.54 lambda and 1.25 lambda.
The patent also includes direct injection to deliver hydrogen to the cylinders and, theoretically, delivering hydrogen by direct injection could produce up to 15% more power than an equivalent gasoline engine. In Ford’s patent, the hydrogen combustion engine is also considered part of a hybrid powertrain with a motor-generator positioned between the engine and transmission. It is important to note, however, that the blue oval patent only covers the method of combustion and control of hydrogen mixtures, not the entire engine.
Keep in mind that not every patent from a car manufacturer is for something that will eventually reach production. Some of Ford’s recent patents include technology that lets you drive a car with your brain, a deployable drone patent, and more.