Liebherr premieres hydrogen prototype engines

By Becky Schultz10 October 2022

Liebherr H966 hydrogen engine The six-cylinder prototype of the H966 hydrogen engine is the heart of the first hydrogen-fueled crawler excavator by Liebherr. (Photo: LIebherr)

Liebherr-Component Technologies AG, Liebherr Group’s components product segment based in Bulle, Switzerland, chose Bauma 2022 in Munich to premiere two hydrogen engine prototypes, each employing different injection technologies. One features direct injection (DI), which injects hydrogen directly into the combustion chamber, with the second incorporating port fuel injection (PFI), in which hydrogen is blown into the air intake port.

Read more: Liebherr’s hydrogen fuel injection for combustion engines

Hydrogen-based powertrains are an important part of Liebherr’s open technology approach to alternative drive concepts, the company said, noting its component product segment has made significant investments in hydrogen engine development and test facilities. Prototype engines have been in testing since 2020, and have shown encouraging results in terms of performance and emissions on test benches and in the field, the company stated, with both PFI and DI technologies assessed as part of the process.

Prototype construction machines equipped with the engines have been in operation since 2021. The first machine running with a 100% hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine (ICE) is the Liebherr R 9XX H2 crawler excavator, which features the six-cylinder H966 utilizing a PFI configuration. The excavator is displayed in Liebherr booth 809, with the H966 engine presented in the InnoLab also located on the stand.

Liebherr H964 hydrogen engine The four-cylinder H964 hydrogen ICE prototype with direct injection configuration. (Photo: Liebherr)

The four-cylinder H964 hydrogen ICE prototype with DI configuration is featured in Hall A4, booth 326. According to Liebherr, the DI technology offers increased potential in terms of combustion efficiency and power density, making hydrogen engines an attractive alternative to diesel in applications with high demands on dynamics and power density within a limited installation space.

Liebherr plans to begin series production of its hydrogen engines by 2025.

The company also cited several research endeavors in the area of alternative fuels, including a dual-fuel ICE engine that can run on hydrogen ignited by hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) injection or fully on HVO. According to the company, the technology would allow flexibility in vehicle operation with different configurations.

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