MAHLE Enhances Hydrogen Powertrain Test Capability


MAHLE Powertrain, the specialist engineering subsidiary of Germany-based MAHLE Group, is expanding its Northampton, England, facility to include a dedicated hydrogen powertrain testing capability.

The capacity to hold two tube-trailers on site with rapid switchover functionality between them will ensure a near-continuous supply of hydrogen. In addition, upgraded engine dynamometers with a 900 kW, 4,000 Nm nominal capacity mean the center will be ideally placed to support the growing demand for hydrogen powertrain development as well as testing of both light- and heavy-duty applications.

“Off-highway, heavy-duty and marine sectors are increasingly looking to hydrogen combustion engines as a way of decarbonizing their emissions in areas where electrification isn’t suitable,” says Simon Reader, director of global engineering services for MAHLE Powertrain. “This expansion is in response to strong demand from our customers for this type of work. It equips our test cells with a dedicated hydrogen supply to create a facility that can perform rigorous testing on even the most heavy-duty engines and their increased weight and torque characteristics.”

The facility is already being used in the development of hydrogen fuel cell systems, hydrogen combustion engines and testing of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. It will also soon begin work on the development of an H2-ICE concept that converts existing heavy-duty diesel engines to hydrogen combustion. This would negate the need for wholesale replacement and capitalize on existing infrastructure to accelerate the transition toward net-zero mobility.

The facility’s supply side meticulously follows British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) guidance on storage and handling of hydrogen. In addition, the individual test cells each feature a MAHLE Powertrain-designed system for monitoring and safe handling of any potential gas escape. The company also has knowledge and experience in developing engines adapted to run on renewable alcohol fuels such as methanol.

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