Applications in the off-highway sector are planned and Mahle says there is potential for commercial vehicles
Mahle has received a series order from engine manufacturer Deutz for the development and supply of components for hydrogen engines. These are so-called power cell units, i.e. units consisting of the piston, the piston ring pack and the piston pin, which Deutz plans to use in stationary hydrogen engines for the first time from the end of 2024.
Further applications in the off-highway sector, such as agricultural and construction machinery, are planned. Mahle says the new engines can be operated in a climate-neutral manner using hydrogen produced from renewable sources.
“We see hydrogen as an important building block for sustainable mobility, especially in the commercial vehicle sector. This project with Deutz is a milestone with a lighthouse effect because it shows that there are other technological levers besides electrification to achieve climate-neutrality,” said Arnd Franz, Chairman of the Mahle Management Board and CEO.
“To keep the world moving, we need different technology options. What a climate-neutral excavator or combine harvester will look like remains to be seen. For engines that are constantly in use and move large loads, several options are possible. One of them is the hydrogen engine. Our successful pilot projects demonstrate the potential in the commercial vehicle sector. With Mahle, we now have a strong partner to help us enter series production of our hydrogen engines at the end of 2024,” said Dr. Sebastian C. Schulte, Chairman of the Management Board of Deutz.
For use in the hydrogen engine, Mahle has adapted and further developed the aluminium piston and piston ring pack from classical diesel technology. In hydrogen combustion, a key challenge is to find the optimum between the gas mixture that is forced into the crankcase during the combustion process and the oil consumption. Mahle says it has already verified the reliability of the hydrogen components in a wide variety of engine classes.
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“To achieve the climate protection goals, we must exploit the potential of all available powertrain technologies,” said Franz. In addition to e-mobility, including fuel cells and the associated thermal management, Mahle considers the climate-neutral green combustion engine, which runs on non-fossil fuels such as hydrogen, to be one of the future technologies for a sustainable powertrain mix.
Mahle has a new test centre for hydrogen applications on 1,400 square meters of space at its Stuttgart location.