Ford Joins with the University of Melbourne to Study Hydrogen Engine Development in Australia

Ford Motor Company of Australia has confirmed its support of a long-term research project by the University of Melbourne to study efficient and practical hydrogen fuelled vehicle technologies.

The important study today received a $1.2 million grant from the Victorian State Government, announced by the Minister for Energy and Resources, Hon Peter Batchelor.

“Ford Australia is proud to extend our relationship with the University of Melbourne through this important project,” said Ford Australia President Tom Gorman.

Ford Australia will contribute engines and resources to the project which, along with the State Government grant, will assist with engine and vehicle development. The project will also investigate hydrogen generation and storage technology.

“Globally, Ford Motor Company is a leader in the development of alternative fuel vehicles and technologies. The Escape Hybrid, our range of E85-capable flexi-fuel vehicles, and the recent showcasing of the world’s first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability are all examples of our broader global efforts,” said Gorman.

“The University of Melbourne project is the first to research hydrogen engine alternatives using an Australian sourced engine, and will be an important complement to these initiatives,” Gorman continued.

The first stage of the project aims to develop, build and test a hydrogen-fuelled turbo-charged Ford 6-cylinder engine using advanced combustion technology (HAJI – Hydrogen Assisted Jet Ignition). The aim of the study, which will build on many years of hydrogen combustion research at the University of Melbourne, is to demonstrate the characteristics and benefits of hydrogen assisted internal combustion.

“This project will use cutting-edge research into low / zero emissions technology,” said University of Melbourne Senior Lecturer, Dr Michael Brear. “It will also tackle the important energy issues of hydrogen generation from renewable energy and its high density storage requirements.”

The long-term research project is scheduled to begin in July.

Hydrogen part of a broader global effort at Ford

Research into hydrogen technologies is part of Ford’s global effort to address the challenges of climate change and energy independence through the development and use of alternative fuels and alternative fuel technologies. This includes hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen internal combustion engines, hybrid engines, biofuels, LPG, clean diesel and refinements to petrol-powered engines, and advanced transmissions.

Ford Australia and the University of Melbourne relationship

In late 2006, Ford Australia joined the University of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government to form the Advanced Centre for Automotive Research Technology (ACART), the purpose of which is to enhance vehicle development in Australia. ACART will eventually include a new engine dynamometer facility, a diesel test cell, and a world-class environmental wind tunnel available for use by the wider automotive development community.