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Breakthrough: Korean Team Develops 2L-Class Direct-Injection Hydrogen-Fueled Engine

8 Sept 2023

A remarkable breakthrough in hydrogen engine technology has been achieved by a collaborative research team from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) and Hyundai-Kia Motor Company (HMC). Led by Principal Researcher Young Choi from KIMM's Department of Mobility Power Research and Researcher Hong-gil Baek from HMC's Zero-Carbon Engine Research Lab, the team has successfully developed a 2-liter class direct-injection hydrogen engine that runs exclusively on hydrogen.

Traditionally, hydrogen engines faced challenges related to efficiency and emissions, particularly when compared to gasoline engines. However, the groundbreaking technology developed by this Korean research team promises to revolutionize hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Key highlights of this achievement include:

Direct Injection Advancement: The research team introduced a direct injection approach, delivering hydrogen directly into the combustion chamber of an existing HMC hybrid vehicle. This innovative method, executed with a pressure exceeding 30 bar, ensures efficient hydrogen utilization throughout the engine's operating conditions.

Improved Efficiency: To enhance engine performance, a turbocharger was integrated, maintaining high thermal efficiency across all engine operating conditions. This strategic addition allows for stable engine operation while optimizing power output and fuel efficiency.

Elimination of Backfire: The direct injection hydrogen engine resolves the common issue of backfire by injecting high-pressure hydrogen fuel directly into the combustion chamber. This approach minimizes disruptions to air intake, ensuring improved fuel efficiency and reduced engine performance degradation.

Emissions Reduction: In comparison to gasoline engines, the newly developed hydrogen engine significantly reduces carbon dioxide and fine particulate emissions by an impressive 99% and 90%, respectively. These emissions reductions align with EU standards for zero-emission vehicles.

Ultra-Low NOx Emissions: Impressively, the hydrogen engine emits less than 15 ppm of NOx (nitrogen oxides) without the need for an exhaust gas purification system. This remarkable achievement underscores the engine's high thermal efficiency, reaching up to 40%.

The collaborative effort between KIMM and HMC represents a significant leap forward in hydrogen engine technology. By addressing critical efficiency and emissions challenges, this breakthrough brings hydrogen-powered vehicles closer to mainstream adoption.

As the automotive industry seeks sustainable and eco-friendly solutions, the Korean research team's innovative hydrogen engine paves the way for cleaner and more efficient transportation options. With the potential to contribute to a greener future, this development marks a pivotal moment in hydrogen-powered mobility.

In a groundbreaking achievement, a Korean research team has developed a 2-liter class direct-injection hydrogen engine, offering improved efficiency and significantly reduced emissions. This breakthrough promises to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen-powered vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable transportation future.

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