Hytech Power and Locomotive Diesels

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Hytech Power and Locomotive Diesels
Posted by YoHo1975 on Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:11 AM

I saw an article in Vox about this some weeks back and the activity in the SD70ACe-T4 thread jogged my memory.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/2/16/16926950/hydrogen-fuel-technology-economy-hytech-storage

https://www.hytechpower.com/

 

So this company HyTech power has developed a technique for using Hydrogen to assist in cleaning and improving efficency on ICE.

They are currently road testing with FedEx and have gotten some approvals from the EPA. They announced some sort of partnership with Caterpillar.

They mention various rubber tired vehicles, they mention stationary generators.

They DO NOT mention Diesel electic locomotives.

My questions are these:

Is there a reason they haven't mentioned locomotives? Or, is the Caterpillar partnership going to result in something? It feels like UP or BNSF would want to run a test with this.

Second related question, I don't know enough about the technology to even hazard a guess, but do medium speed Diesels present challenges to the use of this technolgoy? What about EMD 2 cycle? does it present a challenge? 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, March 15, 2018 6:24 AM

Always fun to see these articles that recast 'bold new theories' when it comes time to go to market.

i always get a bit nervous when people start the verbal dance around water electrolysis, implying there are ways to get more energy out of hydrogen 'combustion' than you put in for 'separation'.  Note the invocation of seemingly large percentage of increased practical 'separation' out of the HyTech device with its carefully specified mix of electrocatalysts (or whatever they were called) drawing the eye away from the realities of practical use of hydrogen as a carrier fuel... it is as if they expect you to remember the 'higher efficiency' claim when they come back to the carrier-fuel 'economy' discussion later on.

Brown's gas fans like me will readily recognize both what the 'HHO' device does and the ways it is supposed to work -- of course, folks with different bold new theories and less Boeing-executive participation have been doing things like driving multiple alternators off driveshafts to run dissociators for years at three orders of magnitude lower cost or so, although relatively few have used modulated port injection.  The initial principle is called promotion, making polynucleate ignition in an IC engine's charge more effective (toluene is a chemical that can produce similar effects in some diesel-engine architectures, in corresponding molecular proportion to HHO introduction/injection, but of course has some o'dat ol' debbil carbon in it so not part of the world's ultimate drive to 'full decarbonization' or whatever other silly claim was being made.)

Note how carefully the article dances around what this use of 'hydrogen' is for, and how carefully it is distinguished from use of hydrogen as a carrier 'energy fuel' without telling the reader what the sleight-of-pen is for.  This is an ominous sign to me.  A much bigger one is the progress to discussing replacement of systems like Tesla's energy wall with pumped liquid nanohydrides without any mention of the words 'hydrogen embrittlement'  or the specific explosive limits of gaseous hydrogen in air; this is not to say there is no future for such a technology, but it certainly indicates at least a cavalier attitude either toward HyTech's imparting technological details or the article author's comprehension of issues in carrier hydrogen generation and storage that have been mainstream-accessible for decades now.

To address your direct question:  it would appear the early development and marketing of the company's product is to the heavy truck (probably class 8) market, including engine makers for that market.  A very significant problem that it might address, in addition to improving combustion promotion, is nanoparticulate generation in both compression-ignition and direct-injection IC engines, which no practical DPF will ever address (but which poses by far the greatest health risk in current engine pollution, probably orders of magnitude more significant than the proportional effect of NOx from these engines' emissions).  But we see no discussion, perhaps because there is not yet comprehension, that this is an important and perhaps critical consideration.

Meanwhile: adapting a $10K device to medium-speed locomotive diesels is going to pose a certain sales difficulty.  HyTech is, I think rightly, concentrating its early attention on the truck market (which perhaps will have some overlap to genset and smaller-repower locomotive markets, and perhaps to the high-speed engines like the C175 and QSK families).  It remains to be seen if Progress/EMD in particular tries this on both the 710 and 265/1010 'platforms' -- but I would NOT expect to hear anything about it until their testing is complete.  Including careful analysis of cost/benefit in general locomotive duty cycle operation, and long-term reliability in 'practical railroad conditions'.

For what it may be worth: I see no showstopping reason HHO couldn't be used on an EMD 2-stroke PROVIDED it were introduced via timed and relatively precise injection, as in the HyTech approach, and the subsequent promotion is a valuable effect at 'enough' speeds and loads to justify the costs of running and maintaining the device.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Thursday, March 15, 2018 10:27 AM
The article is most assuredly written to a general interest audience. Hard to tell how much of the technical detail was not given vs. not kept in the article. The article I think is intended to serve as a counter point to Elon Musk pie in the sky coverage. It's a bout near term possibilities vs. long term/impossible visions. It's also curious trying to understand how Vox get's clued into these kinds of technology. Presumably via a press release that caught their interest or similar mechanism. I did like that they included the skeptical response from others in the field. So, based on what you said, it sounds like the injection system is perhaps the most innovative change in this system.

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