Automotive Industry Manufacturing | New

POWER tech giant Cummins has unveiled a 15-litre hydrogen engine that could pave the way for emission-free heavy-duty transport.

Launched at the Advanced Clean Transport Expo in California, the new powertrain called X15H is an internal combustion engine that will run much like a diesel engine but with clean hydrogen fueling the combustion stage.

It will be built on the company’s new fuel-independent engine platform, whose products will share very similar components under the head gasket, regardless of their fuel type, with most of the differences occurring above.

The hydrogen version will enter production in 2027, accompanied by a 6.7-litre version.

Cummins did not reveal any output figures, but in July 2021 it announced testing of the hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) technology, with early results showing power and torque outputs in excess of 213kW and 1100Nm.

According to Cummins, hydrogen internal combustion engines such as the X15H will be more affordable than hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and can be retrofitted into existing vehicle models with little modification.

Cummins Hydrogen Engines Managing Director Jim Nebergall said they will enable the trucking industry to take action and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the decade.

“Our customers are responding positively to this convenient technology. These motors look like motors, they sound like motors and fit where motors normally fit,” he said.

Cummins isn’t the only engine maker investing in hydrogen-powered ICE technology.

In December 2021, Toyota unveiled a hydrogen-powered version of its GR Yaris featuring the same powertrain as an experimental hydrogen-powered Corolla Sport that was co-developed with Subaru and competed in the Super Taikyu racing series in Japan.

The hydrogen-powered GR Yaris concept uses the same fuel tanks and refueling mechanism as the Toyota Mirai FCEV, with liquid hydrogen powering the modified engine that offers better responsiveness than a comparable gasoline engine due to the burn rate faster than diatomic gas.

Toyota has also partnered with Yamaha to develop a 335kW/540Nm 5.0-liter hydrogen V8 engine based on the 2UR-GSE donk found under the hood of the Lexus RC F.

Meanwhile, Mazda is developing a hydrogen version of its rotary engine.

But there is still work to be done to develop hydrogen-powered ICE engines. Although they have advantages over the hydrogen FCEV, such as lower costs, end-user familiarity, and the ability to be installed in conventional and even retrofitted ICE vehicles, they are not as efficient. .

When used to power an internal combustion engine, hydrogen is only about 30% efficient, which is about the same as gasoline. With fuel cell technology, hydrogen benefits from an efficiency of around 60%, which means double the range.

And while ICE hydrogen powertrains produce no carbon, the forced induction process produces polluting nitrogen oxide while the only byproduct of hydrogen fuel cells is clean water.

But with medium-to-heavy trucks representing the largest transport emissions after aviation and maritime transport, hydrogen engines such as the X15H and their relatively easy integration could allow them to have a significant positive impact on the environment. , at least in the short term.