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5 Things to Know about Hydrogen-enriched Fuel


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Hydrogen-enriched fuel is in the news as research at the Texas A&M University’s Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering by Dr. Muzammii Arshad and his team of student researchers is underway.

Their goal is to find a solution to determine how well the performance of hydrogen-enriched fuel for spark engines. They hope that this will help further progress the technology of carbon-free vehicles.

“Due to climate change as well as a focus on reduced emissions and deprivation of fossil fuel reserves, there has been immense research to reduce emissions,” said Arshad. “This has led to investigating effects of dual fuels on the emissions as well as engine performance parameters because we don’t want to lose the combustion characteristics by injecting a secondary fuel.”

Not a lot of people know a lot about hydrogen fuel. This blog will outline some facts about hydrogen fuel and its relevance in the automotive industry today.

  1. Hydrogen fuel requires a large amount of research and development

To develop hydrogen engines, the Department of Energy (DOE) is currently working with its laboratories, universities and industry partners to create a high-performance hydrogen-enriched fuel. Before Muzammii’s team found promising results, they focused on research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to develop a “low-cost fuel cell stack and balance of plant (BOP) components and advanced high-volume manufacturing approaches to reduce overall system cost.”

  1. Hydrogen-enriched fuel can be used as a substitute or add-on to gas

Hydrogen-enriched fuel, or hydrogen fuel enhancement, “is the process of using a mixture of hydrogen and conventional hydrocarbon fuel in an internal combustion engine, typically in a car or truck, in an attempt to improve fuel economy and power outlet emissions, or a combination thereof. Methods include hydrogen produced through an electrolysis, storing hydrogen on the vehicle as a second fuel, or reforming conventional fuel into hydrogen with a catalyst.” (Wikipedia)

There are 3 ways that this fuel can be used in engines. These include:

  • By introducing cold hydrogen through a valve controlling passage into the intake manifold, oth3.erwise known as manifold induction. (An intake manifold is a part of a car that distributes the fuel-air mixture to the cylinders)
  • By directly introducing hydrogen into the cylinder
  • Supplying hydrogen as an add on fuel to gasoline

3. Hydrogen-enriched fuel is believed to be a trailblazer in the automotive industry

There are those that truly believe that hydrogen fuel is the future, like how back in 2004 Mayor Gavin Newsom held a press conference to show how clean a hydrogen vehicle’s emissions really were. Fast forward to 2019, people have been skeptical of the hydrogen infrastructure holding up its end of the bargain, as fuel availability has been scarce these last couple years. In June of 2019, a hydrogen plant in Santa Clara caught on fire, which disrupted hydrogen supply for the Bay Area and SoCal. Adding on to that, because of Texas’ big freeze last year, California stations were left barren as much of the state’s hydrogen supply comes from there.

  1. Hydrogen-enriched fuel is expensive

Back in 2019, the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission (CEC) released a report showing the average price per kilogram of hydrogen came to $16.51. To put that in perspective, the Hyundai Nexo holds 6.3 kilograms of hydrogen, which means that it can only go about 380 miles before needed a refill, which would cost about $100.

  1. The future of Hydrogen fuel

It comes down to infrastructure. Currently, EV (electric vehicle) production is at an all-time high in the U.S. However, it’s only in the big cities where consumers can get the most out of their cars as there’s no infrastructure further out in rural parts of the country. Also, with more research like Muzammii’s, then we can move closer to a world where hydrogen fuel is more affordable for those that want to save a little money on their next new car.

As long as states like California are willing to invest more in hydrogen as a fuel source, then it will become more of a staple in the world of alternative energy.


Here’s a pdf of an extensive review of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel provided by engineering faculty at the University of Malaysia

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