Ford Focus involved in hydrogen “breakthrough”

A conventional petrol Ford Focus with minor modifications has successfully been converted to run on hydrogen in an experiment that is being described as a breakthrough.

In a programme conducted by the University of Hertfordshire on behalf of ITM Power, the bi-fuel car travelled over 25 miles on a single charge of hydrogen, releasing no CO2 emissions in the process.

The power firm used a low-cost electrolyser to convert renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, into hydrogen and then used its own refuelling system to charge the car.

Jim Heathcote, chief executive of ITM Power, said that the way the hydrogen was generated and the fact that the car was capable of running on it was a "seismic advance" in society’s efforts to reduce its dependence on oil and other fossil fuels.

He added: "The bi-fuel car and refuelling system clearly demonstrate a simple, convenient and low-cost transportation solution that can significantly reduce greenhouse gases and help mitigate climate change.

"We believe combining electrolysers with an internal combustion-engined vehicle brings affordable hydrogen transportation forward by many years."

ITM Power pointed out that the problem with many hydrogen-powered cars is that they rely on liquefied gas, but the Focus in the experiment ran on pure gas, which can be produced in any location with access to water and electricity.

The firm is currently developing a facility for production of its electrolyser machines and will demonstrate how the refuelling system and the bi-fuel car work later this year.

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