Alternative Fuels: Will Hydrogen Save Hot Roding? Internal combustion engines to win!


The in-house engine is on the burning ropes here in the States, at least when it comes to new car sales, if you’re to believe the 2035 EV-only bidding deadline that most big automakers cars are launching. With that has come a huge push for other out-of-the-box alternatives as people scramble to find ways to keep our beloved internal combustion engines alive, and I commend some of them for it. Mike Copeland of Arrington Performance is one of them who believes we can save the 90 million internal combustion vehicles currently registered in the United States, or at least the cool ones anyway! Can his ideas, and lots of cool technology, be the savior of hot rodding, racing, and the internal combustion engine as we know it? Before we get into the details of the Zero project at Arrington, let’s talk a bit about alternative fuels in general.


Alternative fuels are nothing new. In fact, the current E-10 fuel we use in our vehicles contains 10% ethanol and was invented in the 1940s in Nebraska. It was first widely used in the 1970’s due to the oil crisis we were experiencing in the United States as it stretched our gasoline supply by that 10%. In many states, including California, where I grew up, you could get emissions exemptions if you configured your car to run on alternative fuels like methanol or ethanol because those fuels had lower emissions and were considered biofuels. But until the arrival and commercialization of E85, there were no easily accessible options for consumers, which has been the problem with any alternative fuel to gasoline and diesel since they became the most common fuels in the world. Regardless of how good a fuel is for an engine, the environment, or consumers, affordability matters depending on the application. E85, for example, is a widely known, understood, and in some cases appreciated fuel that has faced serious obstacles to achieving mass distribution across the country.

Combine this with misinformation about how E85 works, how it’s made, how it should be made, and what it does to your engine and you end up with a fuel that has a huge platform stacked against it from the start. So how will new technologies survive? What will have to happen to keep our internal combustion engines running AND out of the EPA’s pitfall? Are carbon-neutral electric fuels the answer? You’ve probably never heard of them. They are fuels made from unburned hydrocarbons in the air, also known as the air pollution from our vehicles, and they not only clean the air while they are being made, but they also do it with green energy. These are things that sound like rocket science, but they are being done.

But what if there was already something that we know how to do and how to use, which becomes much more realistic thanks to modern technology and resources? I’m talking about hydrogen. I’m not talking about hydrogen fuel cells. A hydrogen fuel cell is an electricity “generator” that runs on hydrogen. That electricity is then powered by an electric motor. We’re not talking about that. I’m talking about a hydrogen tank in your vehicle that is used to power your current engine. Do you have a supercharged LS under the hood of your car? Great, run it on hydrogen. Have a twin-turbocharged Coyote in your 1969 Mustang, cool, run it on hydrogen. Do you have a straight 8 in a 1950 Buick? Change it up and run it on hydrogen. The only emission is water vapor. That’s it.

And if you have a 2018 Camaro and are concerned that gas may not always be available to fuel it, have no fear, you can convert that too. Virtually every internal combustion engine in the world could be converted to hydrogen with the right technology and controls. This is where Mike Copeland and Arrington Performance come in.

Arrington has been in the performance game for a long time, building incredible Hemi powerplants, and Mike Copeland has been a staple in GM’s Performance Division for decades, along with time spent running Lingenfelter Performance and his own custom shop. where engine swaps are the norm Mike’s goal has always been great power, but also longevity in the world of hot rodding, racing and performance. He wants this industry and hobby that we all know and love to continue long after we’re all dead and gone, and at the same time he believes, like all of us, that clean air and water are good things. Who does not?

To show the potential of hydrogen as a fuel for internal combustion engines, Arrington has bet on the technology with partners like Bosch and Red Line Oil who want this to succeed. They want to help build the technology and strengthen the hydrogen distribution network. It is the technology that has enabled this to become a reality in 2022. New engine management technology, engine testing, engine data and a better understanding of what makes a hydrogen engine happy have led to this test bed that was built at Arrington. and Diversified Creations, Copeland’s custom shop. But it will take more than a cool truck and a lot of technology to make this a reality for all of us, and that’s where green hydrogen and Big Oil support come into play. Both are a reality, which sounds strange, but given that Big Oil has traditionally been the biggest obstacle to any new fuel technology, this could be the big win needed for our beloved engines to survive for generations.

This 1948 Chevy pickup has all the right hot rod and street rod style components including a TCI chassis, American Powertrain TKX 5 speed, Centerforce Clutch, Baer Brakes, Classic Instruments, Forgeline Wheels, Vintage Air, Kicker Stereo, and the list. keep going. . In fact, the only things that are “different” from what you’d normally see are the injectors, camshaft, and carbon-wrapped fuel tank. Otherwise, it’s all normal stuff!

You can see the truck below, including the video on its construction, as well as the specifications on Arrington’s hydrogen plans.

There is much more to discuss and delve into regarding this and every other alternative fuel, so we are going to save most of that for tonight’s discussion and then you can also look forward to a follow-up next week. This is exciting stuff and could be the difference between decades of hot rodding and lifetimes.


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