Liebherr to premiere its hydrogen prototype engine on the US market

At Conexpo 2023, the Liebherr components product segment presents a prototype of its hydrogen engine for construction sites of the future. It employs a direct hydrogen injection technology to power the engine.

In the future, combustion engines will no longer be powered solely by fossil diesel. In order to achieve goals in line with the collective commitment from different countries to take global climate action under the Paris Agreement, fuels from sustainable energy sources must be used.

Hydrogen is one of them since it is a promising carbon-free fuel that does not cause any CO2 emissions when burning inside the internal combustion engine (ICE). Liebherr’s expertise in the development of ICEs will further facilitate a quick introduction of hydrogen technologies to the market – even for heavy-duty applications.

The Liebherr components product segment has recently made a significant investment in the development of its hydrogen engine and test facilities. Prototype engines have been tested since 2020.

Meanwhile, the prototypes have shown encouraging results in terms of performance and emissions, both on test benches and in the field. Different injection and combustion technologies, such as port fuel injection (PFI) and direct injection (DI), have also been assessed in the process. The first prototype construction machines equipped with these engines have been running since 2021.

Initial efforts in the development of a hydrogen engine have considered PFI as the first suitable technology. The first machine running with a 100% hydrogen-fueled Liebherr ICE is the Liebherr R 9XX H2 crawler excavator, which won a Bauma Innovation Prize in October of 2022.

Encouraged by the results achieved with the PFI technology, Liebherr further pursues its research and development activities in the field of DI. The 4-cylinder engine prototype H964, exhibited in South Hall at the components’ booth S80821, is equipped with said technology.

In this case, hydrogen is injected directly into the combustion chamber, whereas with the PFI solution, it is blown into the air intake port. The DI offers increased potential in terms of combustion efficiency and power density, making hydrogen engines an attractive alternative to diesel engines when it comes to more demanding applications.

The components segment expects to kick off the series production of hydrogen engines by 2025. In the meantime, the company continues its research activities in fuel injection to further optimize combustion and ensure maximum power density.

In addition to 100% hydrogen-fueled engines, several research endeavors in the area of alternative fuels are currently in progress. One example is a dual-fuel engine that can run on hydrogen ignited by HVO injection or fully on HVO. This technology will allow for more flexibility in vehicle operation with different configurations.

Engr. Haseeb Ullah

Haseeb covers the global energy market for both conventional and modern energy resources. His expertise is on the global energy supply chain from generation to distribution and end-users. He has a Master degree in Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
Back to top button