2007 Chevrolet Silverado Converted to Run on Hydrogen
By: Mike Levine Posted: 02-22-08 17:11 PT
© 2008 PickupTruck.com

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Talk about getting good 'gas' mileage, South Carolina based Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec) has just unveiled a re-engineered 2007 Chevrolet Silverado that can burn hydrogen or unleaded fuel in its internal combustion engine.

The HICE Silverado was built with help from well-known aftermarket tuning house Roush Industries, using a grant of $175,000 from URS Corporation.

While most attention has been paid to hydrogen-powered vehicles that use fuel cells for propulsion, the Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HICE) Silverado operates similarly to a conventional pickup. Its Vortec 6.0-liter V8 has been upgraded to burn the first element on the periodic table while producing 195-horsepower and 265 foot-pounds of torque - gasoline power ratings are 300-hp / 360 ft-lbs. It has a 210-mile (EPA Highway driving schedule) range running on hydrogen.

Engine and powertrain changes include the addition of a Lysholm supercharger, gaseous fuel injectors designed for use with hydrogen, an OEM electronic throttle and replacement of the standard spark plugs with custom plugs designed to operate in the hydrogen fuel environment. The fuel system includes three 150-liter aluminum lined, carbon-fiber reinforced storage tanks mounted in the bed to contain the hydrogen at 350 bar (5,000-psi). The storage tanks provide 10.5-kg (23-lbs) of usable fuel.

The HICE Silverado is similar to the bi-fuel diesel-hydrogen Galpin Auto Sports Ford F-450 pickup we saw at the SEMA and Los Angeles Auto Shows. The Galpin F-450's fuel management system was retrofitted to handle both fuels.

The advantage of trucks like the HICE Silverado and Galpin F-450 are hydrogen-powered vehicles that can still run on readily available fuel while a hydrogen fuel infrastructure is built out locally and nationally. The eTec HICE Silverado will act as the 'point-of-the-spear' for the introduction and development of hydrogen filling stations in South Carolina.

eTEC's press release says the HICE Silverado will be available for purchase but doesn't provide its expected cost.

Full Press Release Below:

Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec), a wholly owned subsidiary of ECOtality, Inc. (OTC BB: ETLY), a renewable energy company that acquires and commercially advances clean electric technologies and applications, and The Center for Hydrogen Research (CHR) today unveiled the eTec Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HICE) Silverado truck in Aiken, South Carolina. Purchased by the CHR, the eTec HICE Silverado is the first hydrogen vehicle to be registered in South Carolina and will be used to publicly demonstrate the viability of using hydrogen in transportation. To fund this project, the CHR received a $175,000 grant from the Washington Division of URS Corporation (NYSE: URS).

"As the Center for Hydrogen Research is pioneering a new wave in hydrogen research and education, we are excited to provide the eTec HICE Silverado to enhance their hydrogen research capabilities and to further demonstrate the viability of hydrogen," said Garrett Beauregard, vice president of engineering, eTec. "The eTec HICE Silverado is one of the first hydrogen powered vehicles to be currently available for purchase. While there are still many issues surrounding the production, storage, and delivery of hydrogen, the work of the CHR and their purchase of the eTec HICE Silverado demonstrates that hydrogen has the potential to play a role in solving our country's energy problems."

With technical assistance from project partners Roush Industries and Powertech Labs, eTec led the conversion of the eTec HICE Silverado to be fueled by a compressed hydrogen fuel system that produces nearly zero carbon emissions. Based on the full-size 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 HD pickup truck, the vehicle underwent extensive internal modifications to meet the technical demands and requirements needed to run on a compressed hydrogen fuel system. eTec’s experienced engineering staff will provide hands-on training and technical support for the eTec HICE Silverado that will allow researchers and technicians at CHR to easily understand the underlying mechanics of the system for future hydrogen research and testing activities. While eTec currently has several HICE vehicles in operation in Canada, and has orders for other HICE vehicles for US customers, the eTec HICE Silverado delivered to the Center for Hydrogen Research is the first eTec HICE vehicle to be registered and operated in the United States.

"The acquisition of the eTec HICE Silverado is a major milestone for the Center for Hydrogen Research in uniting South Carolina's national laboratory, research institutes, universities, and private sector towards the vision of accelerating the development of hydrogen as a viable alternative energy source," said Fred Humes, director of the Center for Hydrogen Research. "As South Carolina is quickly emerging as a national leader in advancing clean technologies, Aiken County and the Center for Hydrogen Research is quickly becoming a concentrated center for innovative research, development and commercial advancement of hydrogen. The eTec HICE Silverado will act as the 'point-of-the-spear' for the introduction and development of hydrogen infrastructure in the state."

"For 18 years we have worked with the DOE and community leaders in this region to leverage the unique and special technologies at Savannah River Site for the benefit of the local economy,” said E. Preston Rahe, Jr., president of the Energy & Environment Business Unit, the Washington Division of URS Corporation. “The eTec HICE Silverado literally puts us on the road to demonstrating the practical aspects of hydrogen as a transportation fuel source not only for Aiken County, South Carolina and Georgia, but for the rest of the country as well."

eTec, a wholly owned subsidiary of ECOtality, is a recognized leader in the research, development and testing of advanced transportation energy systems and infrastructures. Committed to commercially advancing clean electric technologies with clear market advantages, eTec manufactures and provides hydrogen internal combustion engine (HICE) conversions, battery fast charge equipment and fueling stations for electric and hydrogen powered vehicles. For more information about eTec, please visit www.etecevs.com.

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