Argonne, Illinois – Independent tests conducted by engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory on a BMW Hydrogen 7 Mono-Fuel demonstration vehicle have found that the car surpasses the super-ultra low-emission vehicle (SULEV) level, the most stringent emissions standard to date.

BMW has put the hydrogen model into limited series production and while it is not yet available for sale to the general public, it is being offered to “influential public figures”, whose use demonstrates a new era in clean energy, the company said. BMW also said that the greatest challenge to widespread use of hydrogen cars is the limited number of refuelling stations.

“The BMW Hydrogen 7’s emissions were only a fraction of SULEV level, making it one of the lowest emitting combustion engine vehicles that have been manufactured,” said Thomas Wallner, a mechanical engineer who leads Argonne’s hydrogen vehicle testing activities. “Moreover, the car’s engine actively cleans the air. Argonne’s testing shows that the Hydrogen 7’s twelve-cylinder engine actually shows emissions levels that, for certain components, are cleaner than the ambient air that comes into the car’s engine.”

The testing facility said that it was not easy to measure the car’s emissions. “A gross polluter is easy to measure, but the cleaner the car, the harder it is to test,” said Don Hillebrand, director of Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research. “Most labs test at the SULEV level. Argonne’s vehicle testing facilities are unique in that they are able to detect even trace levels of emissions. In this case, it was near-zero emissions.”

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