The race to develop sustainable, high-performance engines is gaining momentum, and AVL Racetech has emerged as a frontrunner. The department unveiled its first self-built hydrogen-powered 2-liter turbo engine at the “Aachen Colloquium Sustainable Mobility,” marking a significant leap in eco-friendly motorsport innovation.
One might wonder what sets this racing engine apart from other hydrogen combustion engines. The answer lies in its ability to achieve a remarkable power level of around 150 kW per liter while operating with a lean mixture, a feat that wasn’t easily attainable in hydrogen-powered engines until now. Unlike typical hydrogen engines that rely on a high excess of air (known as lean operation) and thus produce comparatively lower power, this turbo engine breaks the mold.
How does it manage this remarkable power density? By introducing an ingenious method of injecting additional water into the engine’s intake air via an injector. This process increases the boost pressure, delivering a significant cooling effect in the combustion chamber.
The promising figures calculated in simulations have now been successfully confirmed in real-world testing, according to AVL Racetech. The hydrogen-powered engine achieved a specific power density in the range of 205 horsepower per liter (150 kW per liter), positioning it as a highly competitive force in motorsport.
During testing, the engine exhibited a total output of 410 horsepower (301.7 kW) at a speed of 6,500 revolutions per minute. Furthermore, it generated a torque of 500 Newton-meters at 3,000 to 4,000 revolutions per minute. Paul Kapus, the project manager, expressed his pride in these outstanding results, affirming that they had been “completely” verified.
This groundbreaking racing engine is a result of a collaboration between AVL Racetech and the Hungarian Humda Lab. AVL Motorsport Director Ellen Lohr emphasized the department’s mission to steer motorsport towards a more sustainable future. She declared, “The goal of AVL Racetech is to lead motorsport into a sustainable future. With the development of our first racing engine developed under our own name, we have come a little closer to implementing this vision.”
Numerous other entities were also involved in the project, including Styrian M&H based in Ilz, Ventrex, and Weissgerber Engineering GmbH. What’s next for this remarkable innovation? Lohr revealed that the next milestone involves testing the new engine concept in a vehicle on the race track, a development that motorsport enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating.
AVL Racetech, previously known as AVL Racing, boasts more than two decades of experience across all technical facets of motorsport. The department collaborates with customers in around 20 racing series globally, encompassing engineering, testing, simulation, and production. It views motorsport as a platform for innovation, with the expertise gained being a stepping stone to the development of future-generation road vehicles.
The parent company, AVL List GmbH, claims to be the world’s largest independent entity dedicated to the development, simulation, and testing of drive systems in the automotive sector and other industries. In 2022, the company achieved an impressive turnover of 1.86 billion euros, illustrating its stature in the field of automotive engineering.
With AVL Racetech’s groundbreaking hydrogen-powered racing engine, motorsport is taking a giant leap towards a sustainable and exciting future.