AVL Racetech has unveiled its prototype of a hydrogen-powered, two-liter turbocharged ICE, capable of an impressive 205bhp/liter and developed in conjunction with the Hungarian HUMDA Lab. The company is looking to banish the preconception that H2 ICE cannot have performance parity with gasoline fuel.
Using an engine testbed modified for hydrogen at AVL’s headquarters in Graz, Austria, the prototype engine achieved a peak power output of 410bhp (301.7kW) at 6,500 rpm, with 500Nm of torque at 3000-4000rpm, corresponding to a mean pressure (BMEP) of 32 bar.
Project leader Paul Kapus, manager development, spark ignited engines, AVL, said, “At the end of 2022, we announced for the first time that we would be working on a two-liter, hydrogen-powered racing engine with stoichiometric combustion and PFI water injection. Our goals were 500Nm of torque and an output of up to 300kW (specific output 150kW/l). We are proud to have been able to validate those figures on the testbed.”
The engine features an intelligent PFI water injection system, which injects additional water into the engine’s intake air, in order to avoid unwanted premature ignition. The air-fuel ratio (lambda) is 1 (stoichiometric combustion), meaning it is no longer in the lean range. The air demand, which is lower than with lean combustion, is catered for by a turbocharger designed specifically for the engine. AVL had performed detailed simulations in advance, which displayed an excellent correlation with the results recorded on the testbed. The next milestone in the development is to test the new engine concept in a car on the racetrack.
Ellen Lohr, director, motorsport, AVL, said, “The results achieved by our H2 racing engine confirm that we are able to deliver an extremely competitive package with this technology. The goal of AVL Racetech is to lead motorsport into a sustainable future. With the development of the first racing engine developed under our own name – a high-performance H2 ICE – we have taken another step closer to achieving this vision.”