DeltaHawk Engines, builders of an FAA-certified jet-fueled piston engine for general aviation aircraft, has recently completed advanced simulation analysis of a new, hydrogen-fueled variant of its engine family for multiple markets.
Variants of DeltaHawk’s FAA-certified piston-engine for general aviation aircraft are being developed for use in hydrogen-powered aviation, commercial road vehicle and military mobility applications. Simulations and computer-based testing is underway now at the company’s factory in Racine, Wisconsin.
These tests have demonstrated DeltaHawk’s highly adaptable engine architecture is suitable for hydrogen fuel, and that the company’s patented engine design has applications in a variety of markets in addition to aviation—including zero emission vehicles (ZEV), other commercial power applications and multiple defense platforms.
The use of proven internal combustion engine (ICE) technology with hydrogen fuel replaces more expensive, highly infrastructure-reliant, fuel cell systems. A hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine also has higher tolerance for hydrogen impurities compared to fuel cells and, importantly, allows leveraging of the existing depth of ICE manufacturing knowledge and extensive service networks, the company said.
The DeltaHawk engine design itself has numerous other advantages, such as reduced development costs and time to market, as well as higher durability and cost effectiveness due to its more mature technology. In addition, DeltaHawk’s engine design has a significantly reduced power degradation curve over time compared to current fuel cell technology, allowing for better fuel economy than fuel cells after the initial period.
DeltaHawk is now leveraging its aviation engine architecture to create new variants of its engine family that will use hydrogen fuel in additional applications. The compact, lightweight, and durable DeltaHawk design, based on patented two-stroke technology, makes this new engine family an ideal solution for hydrogen fuel. Though other commercial vehicle engine manufacturers have explored conversion of their ICE powerplants to hydrogen power, DeltaHawk’s testing in computer simulations is proving superior to legacy four-stroke engine architectures.
The jet fuel burning, 180-horsepower DHK180 is the first of a family of engines to come from DeltaHawk and offers ease of operation, high fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance, and superior altitude performance compared to traditional aircraft piston engines. The DHK180 was also recently chosen by NASA for their Subsonic Single Aft Engine project, known as SUSAN, and has been selected by Ampaire for a hybrid proof-of-concept aircraft as well.