At Agritechnica, Cummins confirmed its commitment to the hydrogen economy as part of its Destination Zero strategy. Following recent acquisitions and investment, Cummins’ focus is on three key areas for hydrogen: the production of green hydrogen; the management and transportation of hydrogen; and the application of hydrogen in engines and fuel cells.
Hydrogen is already used in some processes on the farm, such as grain drying, cooling, and fertilizer production.
Production. Cummins is establishing new electrolyzer plants in La Mancha, Spain and Minnesota, as well as expanding production at Oevel, Belgium and Mississauga, Canada. With more than 600 electrolyzers deployed globally in 100 countries Cummins investment is growing in this technology.
Hydrogen storage and supply. On-board storage is a critical component of hydrogen power. Cummins has a joint venture with NPROXX, a provider of high pressure hydrogen storage for both stationary and mobile applications, to support the OEM integration process. Storage tanks will have up to 700-bar pressure capability to maximize capacity and operating range.
Hydrogen engines. Cummins is developing hydrogen-powered combustion engines which will provide sustainable solutions that are more aligned with current vehicle designs to reduce complexity for OEMs and their customers. The reuse of appropriate components drives economies of scale while also providing reliability and durability equal to diesel.
Farmers will be familiar with the use of hydrogen in the production of ammonia fertilizer; however, they may not have considered what benefits hydrogen engines could bring to agricultural equipment. Hydrogen ICE can meet the demands of the most challenging applications. Hydrogen ICE is robust to extreme operating and environmental conditions witnessed in agriculture applications.
Visitors to Agritechnica were able to see Cummins’ B6.7H hydrogen engine (earlier post) aimed at agricultural tractors and machinery, with a top rating of 290 hp (216 kW) and an impressive peak torque of 1200 Nm. This is one of Cummins next-generation engine platforms targeted for Stage VI/Tier 5.
The agnostic engine design enables consistent mounting/space claim for clean diesel, natural gas, and hydrogen. The main engine block below the cylinder heads remains the same, the head and the fuel system are the key changes.
Cummins hydrogen ICE engines can be installed in the same equipment as a diesel engine while also using the same transmission, cooling systems, and hydraulic systems. Maintenance practices and costs are also comparable to diesel engines. The major difference to consider is the on-board hydrogen storage system, which Cummins can support through the NPROXX joint venture.
Hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cell technology can offer an efficient power solution for heavy-duty vehicles with high utilization and energy demands, while meeting zero-emission needs. The fuel cell works alongside battery technology—ultra-capacitors, lithium-ion, or lead-acid – in a parallel hybrid set-up to deliver instantaneous response.
We see hydrogen engines and fuel cells as complementary power sources offering different options to customers depending on where they are on their path to zero carbon. Introducing hydrogen engines in the market will also accelerate the growth of hydrogen infrastructure to support the widespread adoption of fuel cell powertrains.—Antonio Leitao, Cummins VP Off-Highway Engine Business/p>