Collaboration on hydrogen engine development

By Mike Brezonick07 July 2021

Fuel injection system supplier Westport Fuel Systems, Brazilian casting specialist Tupy and AVL List GmbH, a global provider of development, simulation and testing services, have announced a joint collaboration to develop a highly efficient hydrogen (H2) internal combustion engine (ICE) for heavy goods transportation. The collaboration aims at combining advanced material and casting technologies with the latest H2 ICE technology using high pressure direct injection (HPDI).

Hydrogen internal combustion Fuel systems specialist Westport Fuel Systems, Brazilian castings supplier Tupy and global technical development consultancy AVL have announced a joint project aimed toward development of a hydrogen internal combustion engine.

Hydrogen is seen as a promising energy carrier for carbon neutral heavy-duty transportation applications, as it has the potential for fast refueling and can be used to power fuel cells or ICEs. Unlike fuel cell technology, hydrogen ICEs can enable carbon neutral transportation utilizing existing base engine technology.

In order to increase efficiency and therefore improve fuel consumption of current spark-ignited hydrogen ICEs, Tupy, Westport and AVL will jointly work on the development of an HPDI H2 internal combustion engine. To deal with high peak firing pressures, superior materials, casting and machining technologies are required, the companies said.

Earlier this year, AVL said it successfully completed the development of the AVL Hydrogen Engine in collaboration with Graz University of Technology, while Westport has also previously demonstrated successful startup and trials of heavy-duty ICEs running on H2 using HPDI. First testbed results of this new joint development program with AVL, Tupy and Westport are expected early next year.

“Our experts are very actively working on CO2-neutral solutions which can enter the market by 2025 – among them is the hydrogen ICE,” said Rolf Dreisbach, executive vice president, Truck and Bus at AVL. “The fast introduction of this technology will help accelerate the build-up of hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

“With our expertise in latest ICE technology, TUPY’s material and casting know-how and Westport’s superior gaseous fuel system technologies, we expect to achieve outstanding levels of power density, efficiency with competitive total cost of ownership.”

Fernando de Rizzo, CEO of Tupy, said his company can “play an important role in decarbonization.”

“We are studying new materials, geometries and machining that can improve the performance of new alternative, low carbon, fuels,” said de Rizzo. “It is very rewarding to partner up with AVL and Westport in this search for a carbon-free, cost efficient transport solution.”

“Hydrogen HPDI offers OEMs a fast, cost-efficient pathway to carbon-neutral technology, without sacrificing performance,” said David M. Johnson, CEO of Westport Fuel Systems. “Our collaboration with AVL and TUPY aims to further demonstrate that an H2 HPDI solution can meet the performance and efficiency requirements demanded by the market, while leveraging billions of dollars of existing manufacturing and engine expertise developed over the past century. HPDI is already successfully powering thousands of trucks today, reducing and/or nearly eliminating greenhouse gases on a proven technology platform.”

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