The Ford Motor Co. Australia has intimated its willingness to support the forthcoming research project by the University of Melbourne to study efficient and practical hydrogen fuelled vehicle technologies.

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

To further aid the research project, Ford Australia has promised to contribute engines and resources. The support will coincide with the State Government’s grant to attain engine and vehicle development. The project is also aimed at analyzing hydrogen generation and storage technology. “Ford Australia is proud to extend our relationship with the University of Melbourne through this important project,” said Tom Gorman, the Ford Australia president.

Ford Australia and the Victorian State Government joined the university so as to form the Advanced Centre for Automotive Research Technology (ACART). The purpose of the centre is to boost auto development in Australia. ACART will soon build a new engine dynamometer facility, a diesel test cell, and a top-notch environmental wind tunnel that would be available for use by the automotive development community.

“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,” added 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,” he continued.

The first stage of the university’s study is the development and testing of a hydrogen-fuelled turbo-charged Ford 6-cylinder engine that has been designed using the advanced combustion technology (HAJI – Hydrogen Assisted Jet Ignition). The goal behind the study is to demonstrate the characteristics and benefits of hydrogen assisted internal combustion. The intensive study will build on many years of hydrogen combustion research at the renowned university.

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

The research is set to start in July this year. It will be bolstered by the automaker’s vision to address global climate change and reduce foreign oil reliance by using alternative fuels and technologies.

Alternative fuels, also called non-conventional fuels, include any substance or material that can be used as a fuel other than fossils and the conventional petroleum, propane, coal, and natural gas. The term usually means a renewable energy source.

Alternative fuels also cover hydrogen fuel cells and internal combustion engines, hybrid engines, liquefied petroleum gas, biofuels, advanced transmissions, and clean diesel engines. Now, the automaker will be focusing on building refined clean engines and discovering environment-friendly fuels to help clean the air. It will not be concentrating on auto parts like power antennas but on the totality its product lines.

Joe Thompson is the owner of a successful auto body shop in Ferndale, California. This 48 year old is also a prolific writer, contributing automotive related articles to various publications. For more information, please visit power antennas.

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