Mahle and Deutz collaborate to develop climate-neutral hydrogen engines

July 11, 2023

July 11, 2023

A hydrogen engine seen on the Mahle test bench (Courtesy Mahle)
A hydrogen engine seen on the Mahle test bench (Courtesy Mahle)

Mahle Group, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, has received a series order from engine manufacturer Deutz for the development and supply of components for hydrogen engines. Mahle will supply power cell units, consisting of the piston, the piston ring pack and the piston pin, that will be used in stationary hydrogen engines for the first time from the end of 2024. It is also reported that further applications in the off-highway sector, such as agricultural and construction machinery, are planned.

These new engines can be operated in a climate-neutral manner using hydrogen produced from renewable sources, as CO2 is not produced when the hydrogen is burned. Mahle has been working on engine systems for hydrogen and other climate-neutral fuels for a number of years and is now sharing this expertise with Deutz.

Although there was no mention of the production methods adopted by Mahle for the pistons, piston rings and piston pins it is supplying to Deutz, the continued development of hydrogen engines could lead to new applications for Powder Metallurgy components.

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“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.

Dr Sebastian C Schulte, Chairman of the Management Board of Deutz, shared, “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.”

Mahle has reportedly adapted and further developed the aluminium piston and piston ring pack from traditional diesel technology for use in the hydrogen engine. 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 states it has already verified the reliability of the hydrogen components in a wide variety of engine classes.

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. “To achieve the climate protection goals, we must exploit the potential of all available powertrain technologies,” concluded Franz.

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July 11, 2023

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