UNSW Syndey team develops hydrogen-diesel dual fuel system; 90% H2, more than 85% reduction in CO2
08 October 2022
Engineers from UNSW Sydney (Australia) have successfully converted a diesel engine to run as a dual-fuel hydrogen-diesel engine, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 85% compared to conventional diesel. The team, led by Professor Shawn Kook from the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, spent around 18 months developing the Hydrogen-Diesel Direct Injection Dual-Fuel System that allows existing diesel engines to run using 90% hydrogen as fuel.
The researchers say that any diesel engine used in trucks and power equipment in the transportation, agriculture and mining industries could ultimately be retrofitted to the new hybrid system in just a couple of months.
In a paper published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Prof. Kook’s team shows that using their patented hydrogen injection system reduces CO2 emissions to just 90 g/kWh—85.9% below the amount produced by the diesel powered engine.
High indicated mean effective pressure (IMEP) of up to 943 kPa and 57.2% indicated efficiency was achieved at 90% hydrogen energy fraction, at the expense of NOx emissions. The hydrogen injection timing directly controls the mixture condition and combustion mode. Early hydrogen injection timings exhibited premixed combustion behaviour while late injection timings produced mixing-controlled combustion, with an intermediate point reached at 40 °CA bTDC hydrogen injection timing.
At 90% hydrogen energy fraction, the earlier injection timing leads to higher IMEP/efficiency but the NOx increase is inevitable due to enhanced premixed combustion. To keep the NOx increase minimal and achieve the same combustion phasing of a diesel baseline, the 40 °CA bTDC hydrogen injection timing shows the best performance at which 85.9% CO2 reduction and 13.3% IMEP/efficiency increase are achieved.—Liu et al.
The Hydrogen-Diesel Direct Injection Dual-Fuel System features independent control of hydrogen direct injection timing, as well as diesel injection timing, enabling full control of combustion modes: premixed or mixing-controlled hydrogen combustion. Image from Prof. Shawn Kook
The UNSW team’s solution to the problem maintains the original diesel injection into the engine, but adds a hydrogen fuel injection directly into the cylinder.
The new Hydrogen-Diesel Direct Injection Dual-Fuel System does not require extremely high purity hydrogen which must be used in alternative hydrogen fuel cell systems and is more expensive to produce.
The research team hope to be able to commercialize the new system in the next 12 to 24 months and is keen to consult with prospective investors. The researchers say the most immediate potential use for the new technology is in industrial locations where permanent hydrogen fuel supply lines are already in place.
That includes mining sites, where studies have shown that about 30% of greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by the use of diesel engines, largely in mining vehicles and power generators. The Australian market for diesel-only power generators is currently estimated to be worth around $765 million.
Xinyu Liu, Gabrielle Seberry, Sanghoon Kook, Qing Nian Chan, Evatt R. Hawkes (2022) “Direct injection of hydrogen main fuel and diesel pilot fuel in a retrofitted single-cylinder compression ignition engine,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2022.08.149
Sounds good - I wish them well.
Australia could be up to their necks in H2 if some of their plans come off.
Need to keep an eye on the NOx emissions, however.
Might be able to convert diesel trains with this (as well as trucks).
Posted by: mahonj | 08 October 2022 at 02:20 AM
I mind if they can implement gold hydrogen in australia. Last time they planned it in texas where there is a lot of abandoned oil wells. We are very near the time where hydrogen will begin to displace a lot of petroleum and batteries.
Posted by: Gorr | 08 October 2022 at 06:34 AM
The engineers at UNSW Sydney may be missing the best application for this concept.
Since there are still NOx emissions, why not use Ammonia? Ammonia could be used as the Diesel Exhaust Fluid and as a source of the hydrogen fuel.
Plus, in Queensland the Gladstone Energy project will use “Green Hydrogen” to produce Ammonia (https://ausfutureenergy.com/project/gladstone-energy-and-ammonia-project/).
The application of this dual fuel use is not in Mining, but Maritime use, read:
Posted by: Gryf | 08 October 2022 at 08:51 AM
Seems like decent efficiency compared to fuel cells.
Still might be better to use with a small range extender with a BEV truck that has less drivetrain maintenance.
Posted by: GdB | 08 October 2022 at 12:51 PM
Moving some applications to hydrogen makes sense if you don't use fossil fuel, methane, as your feedstock. But, I fear a lot of the talk about producing H2 using surplus electricity and an electrolysis process are lies brought forth by the oil/gas interests so they can continue their gross profits and pollution rampage. Don't forget 92% of the H2 produced worldwide uses the current highly polluting reform process of combining fossil fuel and steam into hydrogen.
Posted by: Lad | 09 October 2022 at 03:16 PM
I do not really follow your rationale.
Hydrogen has historically been produced mainly to beneficiate oil, and a fossil fuel industry using what was to hand, other fossil fuels, to make their product.
One could equally argue that it is pointless switching cars to electric and batteries, as much industrial electricity has historically been produced using fossil fuels.
And whether it is acceptable to use methane as a feedstock for hydrogen depends on whether sequestration can be effective.
Expert opinion here from a recent post by a geologist indicates that there is no reason at all why it should not be.
Skepticism is fine, blanket rejection of whole areas of technology on dubious or specious grounds are less so.
Posted by: Davemart | 09 October 2022 at 03:35 PM
Still riding that hydrogen hobbyhorse
Posted by: dursun | 10 October 2022 at 07:08 PM