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Liebherr developing fuel injection concepts of the future

Global construction machinery major Liebherr-International Deutschland GmbH (Liebherr Group) has disclosed that it is developing “climate-friendly” fuel injection solutions for the use of hydrogen and synthetic fuels. As the internal combustion engine (ICE) is still the dominant form of propulsion for mobility today, Liebherr's Components Division sees it as a "logical step" to also advance the internal combustion engine for the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral fuels.

Liebherr is developing alternative fuel injection concepts for internal combustion engines (ICE) with hydrogen and e-fuels such as methanol (image courtesy Liebherr).

In the development of climate-friendly injection solutions, Liebherr focuses on new injector concepts using alternative fuels. In terms of costs and conversion, these can be integrated into existing engine platforms for heavy-duty applications with reasonable effort.

As a fuel in the combustion process, hydrogen is an attractive solution with its absolute carbon dioxide (CO2) neutrality on the premise that hydrogen is produced exclusively using renewable energy sources.

In the field of injection systems, Liebherr is currently working on solutions for direct hydrogen injection that is ready for series production in correlation with the binding CO2 targets for trucks introduced in 2019. Liebherr is announcing the first engine tests before the end of the year.

An additional alternative is offered by synthetic fuels. Electricity-based fuels, the so-called electro-fuels (e-fuels), contain significantly more oxygen than diesel fuels. Consequently, synthetic fuels burn much cleaner and generate fewer emissions.

However, as a result of the higher oxygen content, energy density is lower, so more fuel is needed to generate the same engine power as a diesel engine. Synthetic fuels, therefore, require a particularly high throughput of injection components. Additionally, e-fuels have special physio-chemical properties that require individual components to be particularly robust.

Liebherr is rising to these challenges in partnership with representatives from the energy supply industry, process engineering, vehicle, and engine construction as well as research & development. As part of the research work, initial tests with methanol-based fuels have already been carried out, with new insights, the company says.

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