U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Vehicle Technologies Office – Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity

Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles

A hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle uses a traditional ICE that has been modified to use hydrogen fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office has identified hydrogen-powered ICE vehicles as an important mid-term technology on the path to the hydrogen economy.

One of the benefits of hydrogen-powered ICEs is that they can run on pure hydrogen or a blend of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG). That fuel flexibility is very attractive as a means of addressing the widespread lack of hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the near term. Hydrogen-powered ICEs also have many operating advantages. They perform well under all weather conditions, require no warm-up, have no cold-start issues (even at subzero temperatures), and are highly fuel efficient — up to 25% better than conventional spark-ignition engines.

The Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity has teamed with Pinnacle West (holding company of Arizona Public Service) and Electric Transportation Applications to construct and operate a hydrogen/CNG generation and fueling facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The facility provides pure hydrogen, pure CNG, or hydrogen/CNG blends to the various internal combustion engine test vehicles. Information about the Hydrogen/CNG Pilot Plant Design is available along with a fact sheet.