Engineers at Ford are testing a new hydrogen fuel internal combustion engine (H2ICE) that reduces noxious emissions by 99.7% compared to gasoline combustion engines of similar size and power. Ford's P2000 research vehicle emits mostly water vapor and a small amount of carbon dioxide from the exhaust. It would take 300 hydrogen-powered vehicles to emit the same amount of carbon dioxide that comes from a single gasoline engine. "We made big improvements to this hydrogen engine by increasing the compression ratio and reducing oil consumption," says William Stockhausen, a staff technical specialist on Ford's H2ICE project. Other improvements include adding a solid-film lubricant and hard-surface treatments to the fuel injector system and a triple-redundant safety system. "We wanted to err on the side of safety," says Stockhausen. The P2000 H2ICE uses a modified Zetec 2.0-liter engine. Ford test results indicate the new engine is 25 to 30% more efficient than its gasoline counterpart. Ford's web site address is www.ford.com.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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