1979 - Volume #3, Issue #4, Page #03[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
First Hydrogen Car Already In Production
Early this year, the Energy Corporation, Provo, Utah, began converting the Dodge Omni car to hydrogen and is now marketing a limited number of hydrogen-fueled prototypes at $30,000. "The Omni is ideally suited for hydrogen power because, with its front wheel drive and cross mounted engine, there is more room under the hood, and in the trunk for hydrogen equipment," David Lyon, vice president of the corporation, told FARM SHOW.
The new converted Omni carries enough fuel to travel 105 miles but can be switched to gas with a flip of a switch on the dashboard. "Chrysler's computer controlled-ignition and timing made that possible because separate circuits let the car operate at the optimum efficiency on more than one fuel," Lyons points out. "In the past, dual fueled cars had to be set to operate somewhere in between the best setting."
The do-it-yourself home hydrogen maker plugs into a standard 220-volt outlet. Each night, you hook the car up to the machine and a water hose, and leave it. By morning, you'll have about 51bs5 of fuel already stored in the car's special storage tank. The hydrogen is actually "absorbed" in the heavy metal alloy tank to protect the highly flamable hydrogen. Hydrogen molecules are released by the heated engine coolant when the car is running. The tank weighs 4b0 lbs. but is only the size of a spare tire.
It takes about 35 kwh of electricity to produce a pound of hydrogen, making the hydrogen fuel comparatively expensive - it works out to about $1.40 for enough fuel to travel about 20 miles.
From the outside, the converted Omni looks the same as the standard version. Speicial equipment inside includes a special carburetor, pressure regulator, stoage tank, water reservoir and extra suspension for the added rear weight.
Ten Omnis will be converted in the initial run and plans are to make another 100 in the near future. "We hope to improve the technology on this car-remember it's the first of its kind - and lower the cost with mass production of parts," says Lyon.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Billings Energy Corporation, 2000 East Billings Ave., Provo, Utah 84601(ph. 801 375-0000).
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