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Combustion of Hydrogen: A Guide to HICEVs

In this article, we explore the fundamentals of hydrogen internal combustion engines and how their adoption, over traditional engines, could be beneficial to reaching net-zero targets.

Table of Contents

hydrogen internal combustion engine

What Are Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (HICEVs)?

Hydrogen internal combustion engines vehicles (HICEVs) are cleaner, modified versions of traditional gasoline-powered internal combustion engines, which use hydrogen as the vehicle’s fuel source.

Advantages of Hydrogen Combustion Engines

There are various advantages to HICEVs, including:

  1. HICE do not produce any carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or hydrocarbons as a by-product. As a result, they do not contribute towards the bulk of greenhouse emissions like traditional internal combustion engines. HICEVs, however, are not categorised as zero-emission engine vehicles. This is because the heat emitted can lead to the production of nitrogen oxides. These emissions are, however, of almost negligible concern. Hydrogen fuel cells get around this issue by using hydrogen electrochemically instead of for combustion.
  2. HICE have typical thermal efficiencies of around 45%, much higher than that of petrol engines (around 25-30%) and diesel engines (30-38%).

How Do HHICEVs Work?

A hydrogen powered engine use a slight variation of the combustion mechanism for traditional engines. This is the standard 4-stroke intake, compression, power and exhaust process. The adjusted mechanism uses direct fuel injection technology and high-pressure injectors. This is an essential adjustment that needs to be made as hydrogen gas is extremely flammable and must be kept within the chamber.

Top Sealing and Bonding Solutions for Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines

In order to successfully and safely implement hydrogen internal combustion engines within vehicles, manufacturers must utilise high-performing and secure bonding and sealings solutions for the manufacturing of their engines. This is due to hydrogen engines being tricky technical systems to manufacture due to hydrogen gas’ high flammability.

In addition, high-performing lubrication is also essential for keeping hydrogen engines in top condition. Our automotive lubricants allow manufacturers to optimise vehicle engine performance at a low cost.

Through the proper use of high-performing and secure solutions, manufacturers can ensure building hydrogen engines that are:

  • Lightweight: hydrogen engines and hydrogen storage tanks can be heavy. Using lightweight solutions and materials can optimise the weight as much as possible.
  • Thermally stable: hydrogen engines are susceptible due to the high temperatures within the engine and the high flammability of hydrogen gas. Using thermally stable solutions can ensure all materials within the engine are functioning as intended at high temperatures.

Discover our full range of solutions for automotive engines and powertrains for the optimal bonding, sealing and protection of HICEVs and get in touch with us to discuss your individual company needs.


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everything you should know about the EN 45545
everything you should know about the EN 45545 Standard

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