SwRI demonstrates hydrogen engine with ultra-low emissions

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SwRI demonstrates hydrogen engine

SwRI demonstrates hydrogen engine – The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has announced the successful development of a Class 8 demonstration vehicle with a hydrogen engine through its H2-ICE consortium. This initiative, launched in November 2022, brings together industry leaders to develop hydrogen engine technology aimed at achieving ultra-low emissions in heavy-duty applications.

The centerpiece of the H2-ICE consortium’s achievement is the Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (H2-ICE), designed to produce minimal emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2), while providing the torque and power needed for heavy-duty use. The engine met stringent emissions targets, including the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Ultra-Low NOx designation of 0.02g/hp-hr.

“Our goal was to align the program with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Phase 3 greenhouse gas policy by setting an ambitious schedule,” said Ryan Williams, manager of SwRI’s Powertrain Engineering Division and program manager for the H2-ICE consortium. “Our integration teams executed the plan smoothly, thanks to meticulous planning.”

Industry-wide collaboration

SwRI’s consortia function as industry collaboration hubs, drawing expertise from various members to overcome technical obstacles. The consortium converted a Cummins X15N natural gas engine to run on hydrogen injected into the intake manifold, using customized parts and prototype components from other members.

“From specially formulated lubricants to prototype components, this really has been an industry-wide effort,” added Williams. “The support and collaboration of the consortium was key to completing the demonstration vehicle in the short timeframe.”

Performance and efficiency

The H2-ICE vehicle offers a zero-GHG (Greenhouse Gas) solution for the long-haul truck market, featuring a 370-horsepower engine that produces 2,025 Newton-meters of torque and achieves more than 40% efficiency, reaching 43%. The engine’s CO2 emissions are remarkably low, measuring around 1.5 g/hp-h.

SwRI has also developed a new after-treatment system adapted to hydrogen exhaust, further reducing NOx emissions to 0.008 g/hp-h, significantly below the 2027 EPA limit of 0.035 g/hp-h. “NOx emissions from the H2-ICE platform are at or below the best achieved in our previous low NOx diesel programs,” said Chris Sharp, an engineer at the SwRI Institute. “We expect near-zero NOx emissions in almost all operating conditions. I’m proud of the team’s achievements and excited about the future of the project.”

The demonstration hydrogen-powered vehicle was presented at ACT Expo 2024 in Las Vegas, May 20-23, alongside other leading low-carbon and zero-emissions technologies. It will also be exhibited at the California Hydrogen Leadership Summit, June 16-17, in Sacramento, California.