Liebherr launches hydrogen-powered excavator

A 50-ton crawler excavator with an integrated hydrogen fuel combustion engine has been created by Liebherr.

The H966 engine from Liebherr Machines Bulle in Switzerland was used in the development of the R 9XX H2 by Liebherr-France SAS in Colmar.

It is the first Liebherr excavator to use a combustion engine fuelled by hydrogen.

This week, a prototype of the vehicle that won the Bauma Innovation Award is on exhibit at the Bauma trade show in Munich.

According to the manufacturer, the hydrogen drive cuts overall CO2 emissions by 70% and virtually completely eliminates NOx and CO2 tailpipe emissions.

The H966 engine is based on an intake manifold injection technology and was created for both field trials and demonstrations (also known as PFI). Results with PFI “provide indications of a huge potential in hydrogen propulsion,” according to Liebherr.

As the next step of research, Liebherr is also testing additional hydrogen-based drive solutions, such as H2 direct injection. According to Liebherr, direct injection offers a higher power density than the traditional H2 intake manifold injection, making it particularly ideal for heavy-duty applications in tough work situations like mining and construction.

Project manager Henrik Weitze from Liebherr-France SAS said: “The experiments conducted in Colmar were quite convincing. Future benefits from this technology, particularly in the most difficult situations, are numerous.”

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