Porsche has created a prototype hydrogen motor that can be placed in high-end sports cars and performs on par with a 4.4-liter, eight-cylinder gasoline engine while using less fuel and keeping emissions at safe levels for the environment.
Using cutting-edge virtual engine simulations, the project was completed fully digitally in six months, with the digital data set of the gasoline engine acting as a benchmark for the hydrogen engine. A greater compression ratio, combustion that was optimized for hydrogen, and a new turbocharging system were all modifications.
The lower gas temperatures associated with hydrogen combustion, however, limited the engine’s ability to propel itself on the exhaust side. As a result, Porsche Engineering had to investigate four different turbocharging systems because standard turbochargers were insufficient.
All of the systems, according to Porsche, had several electrically assisted turbochargers, some of which were coupled with additional air system control valves or electrically powered compressors. Each configuration has its own distinct benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice will depend largely on how the engine will be used. Porsche selected a back-to-back compressor idea for the hydrogen engine that competes with gasoline.
Process air enters the first compressor, cools in the intercooler, and then enters the second compressor to be compressed once more. The hydrogen engine achieved a top speed of 261 km/h and a maximum output of 440 kW, which are comparable to their petrol equivalent. The new-energy drivetrain also emits very little nitrogen oxides.
Although it is doubtful that the hydrogen engine will be commercialized in its current form, Porsche claims that it shows the technology’s potential as an additional choice in the continually expanding range of automotive propulsion systems.
Porsche concluded by pointing out that the price of a mass-produced hydrogen powertrain may be comparable to that of a gasoline engine.