Efficient construction on the way with hydrogen internal combustion engines

23 January 2023

Hydrogen internal combustion engine (HICE) is a type of internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen as its working fluid. A hydrogen ICE emits only water vapor, which is safer for the environment and the planet than fossil fuels. The construction industry is at the vanguard of working more efficiently with manufacturers of plant and equipment. Seeking new ways to support the balance between profitable projects and efficient eco friendly operations. Meaning the hunt is on to make construction even more greener than it is and create hydrogen internal combustion engines that are a viable option.

Hydrogen internal combustion engine

Similar to Fossil Fuel Combustion but not!

The hydrogen internal combustion engine is a relatively new technology that combines the best of both worlds of power and efficiency. Rivalling that of the traditional internal combustion engine, but the hydrogen internal combustion engine also produces zero emissions. This makes it an environmentally friendly option for powering vehicles, hired in plant or running industrial machinery.

The build of this type of engine is like other types in many ways: there are multiple pistons that move up and down inside cylinders, compressing air into a small space where fuel can be added before being ignited by spark plugs at precise moments during each cycle.

What distinguishes it from traditional engines is its use of hydrogen instead of fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel oil as its primary source of energy. This means there are no carbon dioxide emissions produced by burning these fuels–just water vapor!

Advantages

  • Hydrogen internal combustion engine is environmentally friendly.
  • Hydrogen Combustion is Net Zero

Disadvantages

While the hydrogen internal combustion engine is a promising alternative to traditional engines, it also has some disadvantages. For one thing, it’s more expensive to produce hydrogen than gasoline or diesel fuel–and that cost is passed on to consumers and business. Hydrogen gas must be stored in high-pressure tanks and handled by specialized equipment; this makes it less convenient than liquid fuels like gasoline or diesel which can be pumped into your car from any pump at any station.

Hydrogen does have explosive potential if mishandled (similarly to natural gas). Unlike natural gas there are no special safety precautions required when handling hydrogen-powered vehicles because they don’t require any additional safety features beyond those already found on traditional vehicles like seatbelts and airbags.

Another disadvantage is that while both natural gas and diesel engines produce significantly more torque at lower RPM levels than gasoline engines do theirs doesn’t come close enough yet either so far as we know right now anyway.”

Hydrogen as a viable fuel

It is one of the most abundant elements on earth. Hydrogen is mostly found as a part of another compound such as water or methane. To be used as a fuel in hydrogen internal combustion engines, hydrogen is better in its pure form (H2). Whilst it would be amazing to take one of these hydrogen based compounds in its basic form and put that into a construction machine and for the engine to process out the hydrogen for construction, it would just not work like that.

Hydrogen creation normally create close to where it is used to reduce transportation costs (another aspect to consider for pricing. Similar to oil based refinement and fossil fuels). Existing ways to produce hydrogen are expensive and involve not the most efficient technologies.

That said there are some immerging methods to improve hydrogen production*:

  • High-Temperature Water Splitting: High temperatures generated by solar concentrators or nuclear reactors drive chemical reactions that split water to produce hydrogen.
  • Photobiological Water Splitting: Microbes, such as green algae, consume water in the presence of sunlight and produce hydrogen as a by-product.
  • Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting: Photoelectrochemical systems produce hydrogen from water using special semiconductors and energy from sunlight.

*Source – https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/hydrogen_production.html

Hydrogen in Construction

The race is on for efficient construction. Ideally net zero carbon footprint in building methods. With better use of combustion engines in a zero-waste environment. Hire products are already available that use fossil fuels more efficiently. Meaning construction companies can reduce their running costs and reduce impact on the environment.

JCB chairman Lord Bamford shows off the engine, developed by some 100 engineers working for more than a year (Courtesy of JCB)

Whilst manufacturers are looking at ways to incorporate hydrogen internal combustion engines into their product lines. One such manufacturer is JCB, who in early 2023 announced their hydrogen internal combustion engine is ready for international debut. This news places JCB as a forerunner in the successful roll out of efficient construction engine technology. Having successfully implemented hydrogen technology in a prototype JCB backhoe loader and a Loadall telescopic handler. The UK-headquartered company said a £100m investment saw 100 engineers at its Derbyshire factory working on the engine for more than a year.

JCB have also pioneered the refuelling issue on site by creating a mobile hydrogen refueller. Making hydrogen easier to deploy on construction sites.

The ultimate goal of HICE is to replace the conventional engine with a zero-emission and net-zero emission power unit. It promises to be a game changer in the automobile and construction industry. Imagine a world where your materials and construction plant is cost effective and has zero impact on the built environment?

For efficient hired in equipment – contact our team to discuss your options on site in the UK –

0161 482 6200 (UK Nationwide)