Heavy-duty hydrogen engines for truck, marine and non-road applications

Hydrogen is recognised a critical energy carrier for the transition to a Net Zero economy. For the transport sector, hydrogen must be carefully targeted at applications which are not well served by direct electrification, saysDr. Richard Osborne, Global Technical Expert – Sustainable Engines at Ricardo.

Applications which require high and continuous power output, such as off-highway construction equipment, long-haul heavy-duty trucks and marine propulsion, are hard to electrify. Electrical infrastructure may also by lacking in many cases. Hydrogen internal combustion engines are a promising powertrain solution for these applications. Hydrogen ICEs build on proven, robust, and cost-effective engine technologies, and are tolerant to fuel and intake-air impurities.

Ricardo has developed direct-injection hydrogen engines based on Euro VI heavy-duty diesel and natural gas engine designs. Direct injection provides more flexible injection, improves volumetric efficiency and reduces the risk of backfire compared to port fuel injection. Key specifications for the engines developed by Ricardo are shown opposite. 

In many areas the baseline engine designs were retained, including the flat cylinder head and swirl port combustion system. CNG engine unit cylinder heads were modified to incorporate BorgWarner direct hydrogen injectors. The testbeds used for the single-cylinder engine and for the multi-cylinder engine are shown in Figure 1.

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