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Austro Engine Expands Hydrogen/Diesel Engine Program

Bosch, Vienna UT Included in Partners on Omnivorous, Sustainable Mill

Diamond's favorite supplier, Austro Engine, has embarked on a program with the Vienna University of Technology and Bosch General Aviation Technology for the creation of a "bivalent hydrogen engine".

Diamond's sister company hopes to complete the research project by the end of 2024. The engine concept will hopefully be able to run on both kerosene/diesel fuels like a traditional Austro engine, while also being able to run on pure hydrogen. The problem is simpler in theory than in practice, of course, with Austro describing their basic idea as an engine with direct H2 injection and combustion via ignition jet instead of spark plugs. The system would provide greater flexibility for operators outside available hydrogen infrastructure, as well as those feeding their aircraft SAF instead of traditional JetA.

Austro tagged in its new partners to see the project through, saying that "considerable success has already been achieved." The firm cites a 90% energy substitution rate at part load, which equates to a 99% reduction in carbon monoxide emission, and not much less in carbon dioxide, either. The use of hydrogen at full tilt still presents a lot of unknowns, however. If successful, the team will be able to suss out any weaknesses or reliability problems in a convertible hydrogen/kerosene engine and create something ready for certification.

“In renowned studies, hydrogen is regarded as the energy storage medium of the future. Undoubtedly, many challenges in the production and especially handling as well as infrastructure are not yet clarified. True to the motto "If you don’t go forwards you go backwards", Austro Engine is taking responsibility for the next generation of propulsion systems for General Aviation,” said Felix Zahradnik, Chief Technology Officer, Austro Engine. “In addition to highest efficiency with lowest emissions, factors such as operating costs, safety and worldwide availability have been decisive in determining the strategy of future propulsion concepts. We see our long-term future not only with sustainable aviation fuels, but also believe that hydrogen direct combustion might be a good propulsion system for General Aviation.”

“Partnerships across industry borders are crucial to achieve sustainability in aviation. At Bosch Aviation Technology we are proud to be the technology partner of Austro Engine and the Vienna University of Technology in public funded projects, which integrate hydrogen in an existing engine line-up,” commented Christian Grim, General Manager Bosch General Aviation Technology GmbH. “We are convinced that hydrogen will play a major role in regard to sustainable aviation solutions if used with fuel cells or in hydrogen engines. To face decarbonization as a major challenge for General Aviation, it will become increasingly important to search for alternative propulsion systems.”



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