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Efficient high-performing hydrogen engines are a step closer, thanks to EU research funding

Researchers from Germany, Sweden, France and Austria, working together within an EU-funded research project and with US partners, have developed a new type of hydrogen technology that will lead to new and more efficient engines. The Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HyICE) project has tested ways to make hydrogen-fuelled engines that are as efficient as current diesel engines, yet non-polluting, and with little or no trade-off in terms of engine size and power.

HyICE hydrogen-fed engines offer clear advantages over current generation engines and promise to compete with other propulsion systems in terms of performance and cost. The project members from the automobile industry, supplier companies and universities developed innovative fuel-injection concepts for engines for passenger cars as well as for trucks and buses.

European hydrogen experts involved in HyICE regularly shared their findings with researchers from Department of Energy laboratories and universities in the US. This is a concrete example of cooperation between the European Commission and US Department of Energy for the promotion of research, and development of new visions for hydrogen energy and alternative power sources. The project results will be presented on 27 February 2007in Munich.

European Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Poto─Źnik said: "The HyICE project clearly demonstrates the contribution EU research can make to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. This is an example of successful EU investment in pre-competitive research, with a potential impact reaching way beyond Europe's borders. The results achieved with this hydrogen combustion engine should encourage industry to develop this form of mobility further. By developing such technology, we can preserve our environment and at the same time keep Europe at the forefront of global competition"

Bringing together a team of industry and academic players, including partners in the US, this 3-year project has produced compelling test results, paving the way for the next generation of hydrogen-fuelled engines. Very low-polluting, yet as efficient as current diesels and with little or no penalty in terms of engine size and power, this new type of engine effectively bridges the gap between today's conventional vehicles and tomorrow's fuel cell-based vehicles - a major step in the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

The partners in HyICE are BMW Forschung und Technik (Germany), ANSYS (Germany), Irion Management Consulting (Germany), MECEL (Sweden), Universität der Bundeswehr (Germany), Technical University of Graz (Austria), MAN Nutzfahrzeuge (Germany), Institut Français du Pétrole (France), Ford Forschungszentrum (Germany), Volvo Technology Corporation (Sweden) and Hoerbiger Valve Tech (Austria). The project received €5 million from the 6th Framework Programme towards its total project costs of €7 million.

HyICE is one of the first EU Integrated Projects to be completed in the area of Sustainable Surface Transport. Introduced under the EU 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6) and now extended into FP7, Integrated Projects (IPs) such as HyICE mobilise broad-based partnerships of research bodies, from big industrial interests to SMEs, and from academic institutions to research centres, in the EU and beyond, to deliver innovative results across several science and technology domains.

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