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BMW Develops Hydrogen Powered ICE Based on Diesel Technology


h2bvplus-hydrogen-engineIt’s a known fact that diesel engines are more efficient than the gasoline ones, and that is because they work a little differently on the ignition side. Diesel engines compress the fuel to a point where it heats and explodes, a process known as self-ignition. On the other hand, diesel engines are still polluting the atmosphere.

The BMW Group Forschung und Technik, along with some researchers in Graz and Vienna, Austria, have developed a hydrogen-powered combustion engine by using the diesel technology. The project is called “H2BVplus”, and their results were very good, reaching 42% efficiency and competing with the highly efficient classic diesels.

Because hydrogen is a clean-burning gas no limitations regarding particulate emissions have to be taken into account, so the engine can have a stoichiometric fuel mixture (the optimum amount of hydrogen and oxygen for them to recombine into water).

The newly-designed engine is said to be even more efficient than the hydrogen powered Otto models in the past, and the diesel-like approach gives it extra safety, avoiding backfiring or knocking. Anyway, igniting the diesel by pressure is harder to obtain, but researchers say they managed to get pressures of up to 300 bar (30 MPa) in the combustion chamber.

Hydrogen is one of the best options we have for our cars, but its real usefulness largely depends on its extraction point. If it’s from a renewable resource, it’s ok, if it’s from fossil fuel, it’s not. But, for the moment, it’s good to know we have more than one option, even if burning hydrogen is not the most efficient method to move around.

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  1. Seems to me if there were some type of beter mouse trap we would already have it. Unfortunatly WE are the problem to many of us and growing faster then the worlds resorces can supply. First we must limit US then use what energy we have wisely. Electrisity made without fire is the only energy system in the future. DEAL WITH IT! How do we rub magnets together is the question.

  2. Please justify this statement:

    Hydrogen is one of the best options we have for our cars

    Unless there is a MAJOR breakthrough in the efficiency of extracting hydrogen from water, hydrogen is nothing but a poor battery.

    Blogs like this (and the lazy professional media, none of which seem to have taken a single science class (intentional hyperbole here)) only ever seem to take tailpipe emissions into effect when touting the virtues of hydrogen, when what needs to be considered is full-cycle energy efficiency. Here hydrogen is one of the poorest performers.

    • Blogs like this keep people informed outside the circle of narrow-minded scientists and mainstream media, which only seems to have the interest of following the oil companies’ interests.
      Yes, hydrogen is nothing but a poor battery. The stake here is not the hydrogen, but the solar panels whose electricity splits the water. Having the most inefficient solar panel, you still get close to zero pollution when compared to burning petrol, even if the production of those solar panels is costly and polluting – it spreads for a long period of their lifetime, so it’s much better. Producing a car pollutes, using it also pollutes by burning petrol-based fuels. What does solar-powered hydrogen pollute with? Water? Don’t be ridiculous. The world will not survive for long if we don’t look after other ways of traveling and doing our stuff. Everything consumes energy. The most important thing is that we have to take it step by step, beginning with the most inefficient system and ending with God knows what. The idea is we have to end spilling oil like it’s free.


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