Researchers have succeeded in converting a gasoline car to hydrogen

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In 2035 it will be forbidden in Europe to sell thermal cars. This decision by Brussels is forcing manufacturers present on the old continent to adapt and brands are already starting to offer electric cars. Symbol of this ongoing change, more new electric cars were sold in France in September 2022 than diesel.

But while everyone seems to want to put thermal cars in the trash, researchers from IFPEN (French Institute for Petroleum and New Energies) have found the beginning of a solution to save these cars.

They propose to transform thermal cars into hydrogen cars. In its test, IFPEN uses the same operation as the switch to E85. The first step would therefore be the installation of an electronic unit at the engine level. This will allow the machine to recalculate its burn rate.

A few modifications and you’re done

In addition to this electronic addition, the researchers are asking for the tank and the injection circuit to be adapted to this new fuel. Once these modifications are made, the car can simply run on a fuel cell. Autonomy is very interesting (as long as a thermal car), but it is above all the time required to recharge the battery that is attractive.

It takes between 40 and 90 seconds to “fill up”, motorists will therefore not be really disturbed, they who spend an average of 3 minutes in service stations. But the biggest advantage of this transition to hydrogen is the ecological side of the car.

In fact, driving at 120 km/h around 3000 rpm, IFPEN’s experimental engine did not emit any molecules of CO2. Some fine particles left the exhaust, but it is much less than with a diesel car.

Despite this environmental asset, hydrogen is today a divisive solution in the automotive world. Companies like Hyperion or the French company Hopium are trying to make this new system viable, while large groups like Volkswagen are closely following the evolution of this market, without directly positioning themselves.

The hydrogen car: a real solution?

Because producing hydrogen to fill these cars today requires the use of the hydrocarbon industry. A situation that slows down many players, concerned about the environmental impact of this production.

Faced with the difficulties of electricity, especially over long distances, a final group of experts recommends a compromise. Bertrand-Olivier Ducreux, transport and mobility engineer for ADEME, explains it well.

For him, the future of the automobile lies in the electric car, but hydrogen solutions should not be forgotten. They can be used for long journeys or by professionals. In the city of Pau, a bus line has already been equipped with hydrogen models.

This new mode of consumption is being studied in several large cities to switch to public transport lines unable to run on electric power over the hundreds of kilometers to be covered every day.

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