We catch up with Darryl Brock, the man behind Australian Hydrogen Conversions, to hear his start-up journey.
The hardest thing about my journey … overcoming every roadblock that falls in your way.
Australian Hydrogen Conversions started as a conversation with my grandfather and uncle 28 years ago about alternative fuels for vehicles and how to extract extra horsepower as I was training to be a motor mechanic in 1987. Over the years I experimented with many different designs of cells and with each new design achieving slightly better results then the last.
In 1999 I decided to leave the automotive industry to start a mature apprenticeship as a boilermaker, which I gained valuable knowledge and understanding on different types of metals and plastics which in turn helped with manufacturing and designing Hydrogen Cells.
In 2011 I mortgaged my family home and sold 2 of my prized collected cars and sank it all into a cell design which gave me a result on my 2002 Nissan Navara. The Nissan went from 400 km per tank to 600 km per tank. In 2012 I quit my job and sold off everything to start Australian Hydrogen Conversions along with a personal friend whom had also invested $150,000 in the business. By the end of 2013 it became clear that more research was needed as our target market was heavy vehicle industry – what we had was not suited to the transport industry.
In 2014 after investing more than $500,000, I designed a Hydrogen-on-demand unit that is a complete plug and play unit. The unit was fitted to a Ford F250 7.3 ltrs diesel which went from 600 to 1532 km using 140 l diesel, but was unreliable to control alternator power consumption. We searched the world for a solution without much success. By the middle of 2014, we fitted a hydrogen on 1999 model Freightliner truck and gained a result of 28% savings, however it was still plagued with intermittent problems. In October 2014 we took the Freightliner and an F250 and a Holden commodore for testing in Melbourne. Testing proved that our unit reduced emissions and saved fuel consumption.
In 2015 we began to design our own unit to control power consumption. This unit was fitted along with our hydrogen unit to a 2007 Peugeot 407. This vehicle went from 9.8 to 4.5 litres per 100 km. We then fitted the new controller to the previously installed hydrogen unit on the Freightliner truck and found it gained even better results of 47% fuel savings!