Volvo Penta develops the dual-fuel hydrogen engine

The Volvo Penta dual fuel engine
The Volvo Penta dual fuel hydrogen engine.

Building off its proven D8 diesel engine, Volvo Penta has developed the dual-fuel hydrogen engine, which is capable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80 per cent, without impacting power or performance.

The engine operates in a similar way as the conventional D8, but mainly uses hydrogen instead of diesel. If hydrogen is not available, the engine can continue to run on traditional fuel, safeguarding productivity and uptime. 

With dual fuel technology, assets and business operations can be future-proofed – despite the lack of reliable hydrogen infrastructure. 

“The new Volvo Penta dual-fuel hydrogen engine offers customers a low-carbon interim solution before suitable zero-emissions alternatives become viable,” said Anders Wernersson, Product Manager for the dual-fuel hydrogen engine. 

“It delivers the same power and torque curve as a regular diesel engine but with significantly lower CO2 emissions. The technology is relatively simple and can be installed with minimal disruption, so we see this as being a cost-effective and robust solution for customers in a variety of applications – including construction and mining – who are looking to transition to net-zero emissions.”

Volvo Penta partners with CMB.Tech

Volvo Penta partnered with CMB.Tech to develop the dual-fuel solution. CMB.Tech provides and trials the hydrogen add-on kit and tank system that works together with the Volvo Penta D8 engine and software. Currently, the engines are being run in test cells to optimize the hydrogen-diesel injection strategy for maximum reliability and emissions savings.

The first engines will work in end-customers machines in Europe throughout 2023. This pilot project will be followed by small-scale production. It will be a stepwise introduction based on market and customer demand, with a focus on the fit between the technology and customer needs, ensuring it makes sense to choose a dual-fuel powertrain.

“Collaboration and partnerships are essential to facilitate the transformation towards more sustainable power solutions,” Wernersson said.

“This close partnership approach is a cornerstone of Volvo Penta’s long-term decarbonization and business strategy. We work closely with our customers and partners to create tailored solutions based on their requirements. As part of the Volvo Group, we are in a unique position in that we can leverage proven technology and competence from Volvo Trucks, Volvo Buses and Volvo Construction Equipment. We combine this with our customer, market and application knowledge, allowing us to optimize and adapt our designs for a specific vehicle, considering the duty cycles, climate and environment it will operate in.”     

A fossil-free fuel source 

The new, eight-litre model is designed to reduce emissions by using a renewable, fossil-free fuel source. Volvo Penta recommends customers use Green Hydrogen to power their equipment. Green Hydrogen is a renewable energy, created by the electrolysis of water using sources such as solar, wind and waterpower to create a fully-carbon neutral hydrogen production cycle.

The new, dual-fuel hydrogen-powered solution will help Volvo Penta on its way to reaching its commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative, where the company aims to reach net-zero value chain emissions by 2040.