In the quest for a greener future, the role of hydrogen in energy transition is undeniable. Amidst this shift, an innovative water engine has emerged, setting new power records and challenging the status quo. This breakthrough represents a significant leap in the decarbonization of the economy, where hydrogen (H) has become a crucial player.

The production of hydrogen for energy is a global focal point, with green hydrogen being a particularly strong contender. Investment in hydrogen production has surged worldwide. For instance, in Spain alone, 20% of the world’s new hydrogen projects were initiated in the first quarter of 2022. According to Wood Mackenzie, by the end of 2022, hydrogen-related projects had increased production to a total of 11.1 million tons per year.

This groundbreaking water engine doesn’t entirely dismiss hydrogen but rather harnesses it innovatively. The Austrian company AVL Racetech has developed a powerful hydrogen combustion engine that promises high performance as a viable alternative to electric vehicles. This engine, a collaboration between AVL Racetech and the HUMDA laboratory in Hungary, features a unique water injection system that addresses the traditional power limitations of hydrogen engines.

The engine employs Port Fuel Injection (PFI) to introduce water into the air intake system. This process prevents premature ignition that could damage the engine, ensuring stoichiometric combustion with fixed air and fuel proportions. This innovation counters the potential disadvantages of lean-burn engines, resulting in a two-liter hydrogen engine that generates 410 horsepower and 500 Newton-meters of torque between 3,000 and 4,000 revolutions per minute. This translates to an impressive specific power density of approximately 205 horsepower per liter (150 kW per liter).

AVL has validated these results through extensive testing, confirming the engine’s competitiveness in top-tier motor racing. “The results obtained by our H2 racing engine confirm that we are able to offer an extremely competitive package with this technology,” states Ellen Lohr, AVL Motorsport Director and former professional racing driver. She emphasizes that the company’s aim is to align motorsport with sustainability.

The potential of hydrogen combustion engines extends beyond racing, contributing to the transition to zero-emission vehicles. As the most abundant chemical element on Earth, hydrogen is poised to make a significant impact on the automotive industry.

For hydrogen enthusiasts, the advent of this water engine symbolizes a victory, reshaping our understanding of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The highways are set to see the first H-roads, heralding a new era in sustainable transportation.

By Impact Lab