FEV Designs Efficient Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine
Hydrogen EngineFEV

FEV Designs Efficient Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine

Based on 40 years of experience in this field leading engineering provider FEV is picking up the pace in the development of hydrogen

Based on 40 years of experience in this field leading engineering provider FEV is picking up the pace in the development of hydrogen internal combustion engines. Ever since the EU initiated the “European Clean Hydrogen Alliance” in July 2020, the hydrogen ICE has increasingly been in the spotlight of the transportation sector’s debate on zero-emission drive solutions. Ongoing discussions about a decrease in CO2 emissions of over 30% for trucks and 50% for passenger vehicles until 2030 compared to the 2019 starting point add additional pressure to the development of zero-emission technologies. Nevertheless, due to its specific chemical properties like wide flammability limits and short ignition delay, hydrogen creates some challenges for the development of internal combustion engines, which FEV is successfully tackling.

To comply with existing safety requirements and due to the need of a secure, constant pressure upstream to the injector, hydrogen creates a unique demand for the design of fuel rails feeding the engine. “FEV has gained deep know-how in terms of the design of pressure-oscillation-free fuel-rails utilizing our multi-cylinder research engine. Besides fuel supply of hydrogen via rail, the admission through the injectors as well as the mixing process with intake air needs deep understanding of the fluid dynamics and interactions. The experimental results in combination with FEV’s well proven knowledge of charge-motion generation enables the company to optimize the interaction of fuel injection and charge-motion design to secure best possible mixture homogeneity.

The wide flammability limit and the low ignition energy needed is adding strict requirements to the design of the ignition system. Suppressing any kind of unintended discharge is key. Additionally, high flame temperatures result in an increased wear of electrodes and directs the attention to best possible controllability of the ignition energy supplied. Low density of hydrogen can lead to accumulation of hydrogen inside the engine crankcase, thus exceeding the lower explosive limit. In combination with the above mentioned low ignition energy required, this effect might lead to severe engine damage.

To compensate for the lag in transient response present at constant air fuel ratio operation, smart engine control functions combine engine drivability with lowest NOx emissions. Therefore, FEV utilizes its rapid control prototype setup to develop software tailored for hydrogen ICEs as time efficient as possible. In order to operate H2-ICEs in complete autarky without base ECU, even full control hardware and software are supplied by the company.

Maximizing robustness against pre ignition

Preignition is one of the major challenges limiting hydrogen internal combustion engines in achieving high, Diesel-like brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) levels. Preignition can be caused, among other sources, by hot surface areas or uncontrolled lube oil introduction into the combustion chamber.

With seven test benches for hydrogen internal combustion engines, FEV is able to operate each engine on a 24/7 basis.

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