Heading for hydrogen

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The Cummins engine plant in Darlingon. CUMMINS

Jonathan Welch speaks to Cummins about an alternative use for hydrogen, in the form of the combustion engine

There can’t be anyone in the industry who hasn’t heard of Cummins. The American company, famous for its diesel engines, has had a presence in the UK since 1952, and opened its first manufacturing facility outside the USA in Shotts, North Lanarkshire, in 1956. Its products can be found across many sectors besides bus and coach, including trucks, marine, industrial, power generation and construction.

Today, the company has manufacturing facilities throughout the UK, including in Darlington, Huddersfield and Daventry. The Scottish plant closed in 1998.

In October last year, the company displayed its latest hydrogen combustion engine alongside more familiar products at Busworld Europe. Whilst hydrogen is becoming familiar in the coach and bus industry through fuel cells, Cummins recognises that fuel cell technology might not suit all applications, and also that its hydrogen combustion engine might provide a more sustainable route forward in applications and markets where alternative, zero-emission technology is not yet an answer.

Visitors to the show were able to view Cummins’ B6.7H hydrogen internal combustion engine alongside its Euro 7-compliant X10 advanced diesel engine, and having spoken with representatives on the stand during the event, I was keen to gain a better understanding of how the hydrogen engine works and what benefits it can offer in a market where anything which isn’t fully zero-emission could be seen as a risk.

Although you might expect an engine manufacturer to have a vested interest in selling engines, Cummins believes in making a commitment to providing practical solutions to reduce emissions in heavier-duty or longer-range applications, and offering a zero-carbon, if not zero-emission, option.


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