The first cars on hydrogen fuel appeared in besieged Leningrad

Auto Refueling with Hydrogen
According to ecologists, cars with hydrogen fuel should become one of the priority directions in the development of transport of the future. A number of the world’s leading automakers have already presented prototypes that attracted the attention of experts and car owners. And yet this is just a “test pen.”

However, few people know that the massive use of hydrogen in automobile engines already took place 74 years ago and not somewhere, but in besieged Leningrad in the most difficult days of 1941.

In the air defense system of Leningrad, barrage balloons were actively used, which were filled with hydrogen. However, over time, hydrogen exited through the damages in the skin, and its place was filled with air. To replenish the balloons it was necessary to lower them to the ground with the help of winches installed on cars. Below low-quality hydrogen bleed and refueled a new one.

The city ended with gasoline, there was no electricity, and balloons were needed, like air. The way out was found by the junior military technician of the regiment of balloons, the talented mechanic-self-taught Boris Shelishch. He suggested using contaminated hydrogen as a fuel. The system is now striking with its ingenious simplicity.

The spent hydrogen from the balloon through the hose was fed to the intake manifold of the engine “Semi-trailers”, and then through the technological adapter directly to the cylinders. The dosage of the fuel mixture of hydrogen and oxygen was carried out by means of a throttle valve and an accelerator pedal.

But the first experience almost ended tragically – there was an explosion of the mixture. Then B. Shelisch proposed to make a water gate: the used fire extinguisher was filled with water and the mixture was now absorbed through the water without the danger of an explosion.

Over the years of the blockade, several hundred cars were transferred to hydrogen. However, after its removal, they were again transferred to ordinary fuel, and a brilliant invention for many years lay in the archive.


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