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Liebherr develops hydrogen-powered excavator

Liebherr has developed a 50-tonne crawler excavator with an integrated hydrogen fuel combustion engine.

The R 9XX H2 has been developed by Liebherr-France SAS in Colmar using an H966 engine from Liebherr Machines Bulle in Switzerland.

It is the first Liebherr excavator powered by a hydrogen combustion engine.

A prototype model is on display at the Bauma trade fair in Munich this week – where it won a Bauma Innovation Award.

The hydrogen drive emits almost zero NOx and CO2 tailpipe emissions and reduces whole life CO2 emissions by 70%, the manufacturer says.

The H966 engine is designed for both demonstration and field trials and is based on an intake manifold injection technology (also known as PFI). Liebherr says that results with PFI “offer evidence of a great potential in hydrogen propulsion”.

Liebherr is also trialling other hydrogen-based drive technologies, including H2 direct injection as the next stage of development. Direct injection enables a higher power density than the established H2 intake manifold injection and so is particularly suitable for heavy-duty applications in demanding working environments, such as construction and mining, Liebherr says.

Henrik Weitze, project manager at Liebherr-France SAS, said: "The tests carried out in Colmar were extremely convincing. This technology promises many advantages for us in the future, especially in the most challenging applications."

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